MEDIA ALERT: Oceana Report Needs Perspective
Reporters warned to weed through the hyperbole in search of facts
Washington, DC October 30, 2014 Reporters, producers and editors working on stories about the newly-released Oceana report on mislabeled shrimp are encouraged to read it with an eye for detail and perspective. According to the report:
- The majority of restaurant menus surveyed did not provide the diner with any information on the type of shrimp.
- This is not fraud. Restaurants are not required to provide information other than noting that the product is shrimp.
- Forty percent of the 20 shrimp species or categories collected and identified were not previously known to be sold in the U.S.
- There is nothing illegal about this. Why is this included in a mislabeling report?
- No samples that were labeled as farmed were mislabeled, while over half of the samples labeled simply shrimp were actually wild species.
- To suggest this finding is an attempt at fraud exposes an ignorance about how this type of scheme is intended to work. Intentionally labeling wild shrimp as farmed or not highlighting the wild attribute, actually costs the merchant money.
- This study was not designed to be a scientifically representative survey of authenticated shrimp products typically available on all menus and grocery stores
- Oceana focused on wild shrimp. Only 3% of its tests centered on farmed, while more than 75% of the market is made up of farmedcreating statistically skewed results.
- Two samples from one bag were tested and found to be different species
- These samples did not reveal any fraud. It is not misleading to mix different species of shrimp in a single package labeled shrimp.
The Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act already gives FDA regulatory power over mislabeled food. New laws are not needed. More enforcement is.