Daily Meal Editor Dan Myers Fails Seafood 101

The Daily Meal’s posting on fish has those in the seafood community, who know far more than editor Dan Myers, giving him a “F” on his latest click bait column. Please find NFI’s letter on the topic below:

February 22, 2017

Dan Myers


The Daily Meal

Dear Mr. Myers,

We write with serious concerns regarding your article 10 Reasons to Avoid Supermarket Seafood. We find your reasoning and research lacking and the piece itself rife with elements usually saved for embarrassingly unsavory click bait.

While The Daily Meal may cater to your Park Slope neighbors, most Americans struggle to meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines minimum suggested seafood intake. They don’t always have the wonderful access to fresh fish that you apparently do. Seafood from the grocery store is a safe, affordable and delicious alternative.

You start by suggesting the fish at grocery stores may have been defrosted and displayed for “several weeks.” With even a minimal attention to journalistic integrity we ask that you please provide examples of fish being offered at grocery stores that has been thawed and exhibited for “weeks.”

You claim in your article that, “mislabeling of fish is rampant in the United States.”  You also claim, “a full 18 percent of grocery stores sell mislabeled seafood products.” Here your lack of attention to detail allows hyperbole to edge facts.  The Oceana work you cite finds 18% of the establishments it tested were involved in mislabeling. This is not a representative or statistically significant sample of retail operations. The work does not find 18% of grocery stores in this country selling mislabeled seafood. Your statement is simply false.

Your apprehension about temperature abuse is found in your concern that seafood from grocery stores, “may not be stored at the right temperature.” You offer no evidence for this accusation and in fact link to another Daily Meal article that focuses on the sweetness and bitterness of foods at different temperatures. You make a food safety accusation and then back it up with, not empirical data but an article about how bitter flavors show up at different temperatures in ice cream?

At one point your article suggests grocery store seafood is a bad choice because, “it may have been raised in unsanitary and dangerous conditions.” This almost absurdly board generalization is borderline journalistic malpractice. As evidence your article links to other articles from other publications that have nothing to do with your own and nothing to do with your personal supposition that seafood, specifically from grocery stores, is bad.

In conclusion you suggest that grocery store seafood is bad because “there’s very little FDA inspection.” This exposes your complete lack of knowledge about just how FDA’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system works. The FDA does not simply wait at the dock here in the U.S. in order to “inspect” seafood. In fact the system is designed to avoid that and to control for food safety at each critical control points along the value chain, not just inspect once it arrives.  Similarly, you note that seafood has a high level of outbreaks. But in what is a clear failure to either understand nomenclature or do any independent research you do not note that while seafood has one of the highest rates of “outbreaks” it also has one of the lowest rates of actual “illnesses.” As an example, seafood might be credited with 10 outbreaks and have 20 illnesses associated with those outbreaks, while for instance produce might have 10 outbreaks and 200 illnesses. Eschewing this very clear and factual point suggests either ignorance or disingenuous journalism.

We are thoroughly disappointed in this reporting and would normally ask for a correction but the egregiousness of the failures and the volume of promotion that has already accompanied this deeply flawed piece leads us to suggest you join the conversation on this topic by first reading about it on the front page of AboutSeafood.com where you can find the following post: Daily Meal Editor Dan Myers Fails Seafood 101.

Gavin Gibbons

Vice President, Communications

National Fisheries Institute