Consumer Reports sent fresh and frozen fish samples from the Northeast to be tested in a lab, and the results were dramatic.
The magazine purchased 190 pieces of seafood at restaurants and stores in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and found that more than 20 percent was mislabeled as different species of fish or misidentified by employees, according to an article in its upcoming December issue.
Consumer Reports said all of the 10 of the “lemon soles” and 12 of the 22 “red snappers” proved to be other species.
A five-month Boston Globe investigation reached a similar conclusion, showing that 48 percent of fish samples did not match their labels.
Earlier this year, ABC News correspondent Elisabeth Leamy reported on the prevalence of “fish fraud.”
“According to Food and Drug Administration port inspections, a third of seafood sold in the U.S. is mislabeled as one type when it’s actually something else, even something cheaper,” Leamy reported.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said it plans to look into what role the state government can play in correcting the issue of mislabeled fish, according to Boston.com.
The state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation also plans to look into the problem, said Undersecretary Barbara Anthony.
“When consumers purchase a specific type of fish, they expect to be getting what they paid for,” Anthony told the news outlet. She said she will work with restaurants, fish wholesalers, and law enforcement officials to figure out ways to “restore public confidence.”