Imagine this: you go to your favorite sushi restaurant, order your favorite sushi or sashimi, and realize something seems a little off. It looks like your favorite sushi, even tastes like your favorite sushi… but something seems a little fishy (yes, pun intended 😉 ). A couple of days later, you read an article in your local newspaper about an investigation that has been done in local sushi restaurants which has found that according to DNA testing, ALL of the restaurants tested have been using a less expensive type of fish that looks and tastes similar to your favorite fish, and has been selling it under a false name! You would be understandably upset, right?
Unfortunately, this isn’t just some hypothetical nightmare… this really does happen. Recently there was an investigation into fourteen popular Chicago sushi restaurants. This investigation found that all fourteen of them were passing off other types of fish as red snapper. Nine of them were using tilapia, a much cheaper type of fish, while four others were using sea bream – still pricey, but not red snapper!
According to the articles I read about this (the two other articles I read referred to the Sun Times one, so I haven’t linked to them), most of the restaurant owners were very surprised when they were told that what they were selling as red snapper was really tilapia or sea bream. Most of them said that they order red snapper from the fish suppliers, but for some reason were sent the much cheaper tilapia instead. I find this troubling, because there are just a few fish suppliers that supply most of the restaurants in the U.S. with sashimi quality fish… which means that there’s a good likelihood that the sushi restaurants that I frequent and also those that many of you eat at probably have this same sort of fraud going on!
What do you think about this? Are you as concerned and troubled by this as I am? Do you think there should be some sort of regulation making sure that there is no fish substitution (there is currently no government oversight for substitution)? Leave your thoughts!