Proper labeling of seafood is important to prevent economic deception and protect public health. The goal of this research was to investigate prepackaged frozen fish for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) compliance, species labeling, net weights/short weighting, and percent glaze. A total of 111 frozen prepackaged fish fillets were purchased from grocery stores in Southern California (USA). Samples were designated as COOL compliant if they displayed both procurement method and country of origin in accordance with COOL requirements. Species labeling was examined by comparing the species identified with DNA barcoding to the acceptable market names provided in the FDA Seafood List. Net weights and percent glaze were determined by recording the weight of each product before and after deglazing. Of the 111 samples, only 1 was noncompliant with COOL and 10 samples (9%) were short-weighted. The average percent glaze was 5%, with seven samples having >10% glaze. Most fish (95.5%) were correctly labeled with regards to species. Species substitution was discovered in two samples and three samples had unacceptable market names. The results of this study indicate high COOL compliance and minimal species mislabeling in prepackaged frozen fish fillets. However, there is a need for increased focus on short weighting and/or overglazing of frozen fish products.
Peterson, A.M., McBridge, G.E., Jhita, S.K., Hellberg, R.S., 2021. An investigation into country of origin labeling, species authentication and short weighting of commercially sold frozen fish fillets. Heliyon 7 (4), e06713. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06713
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