County Health Officer Jonathan Fielding (left) and Supervisor Mike Antonovich at a news conference Monday.
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich announced Monday that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Seafood Task force found that of the 103 retail food facilities inspected, including 66 restaurants and 37 food markets, 74 percent of the facilities investigated had label misbranding or false advertising on menus and over 180 violations.
In addition to substituting crawfish for lobster, other examples of mislabeling found in the study included: selling farm-raised salmon as wild salmon, fluke or turbot for halibut, seabream, pollack and tilapia substituted for snapper, fluke substituted for halibut, and imitation crab, abalone and octopus sold as the real product.
“One of the more dangerous examples of mislabeling included escolar is being sold as ‘white tuna’; however, there is no such fish as ‘white tuna’ and some individuals may be allergic to escolar,” said Antonovich.
The Task Force, initiated by Supervisor Antonovich, was a collaborative effort by the County Department of Public Health, the California Department of Food and Drug branch and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration adopted by the Board of Supervisors to address the growing nationwide problem of seafood mislabeling.
“Residents need to know what they were paying for — and we are committed to ensuring that suppliers and retailers practice truth-in-advertising,” said Antonovich.