Examining Seafood Fraud Through the Lens of Production and Trade: How Much Mislabeled Seafood Do Consumers Buy?

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Dec 31, 2018
Kailin Kroetz, C. Josh Donlan, Cassandra E. Cole, Jessica A. Gephart, and Patrick Lee



Seafood is one of the world’s most-traded food commodities, with an estimated export value of $142 billion in 2016 (FAO 2017b). Because of its economic importance, the wide variety of products traded, and often murky and complex supply chains, there are numerous opportunities for seafood mislabeling. Incentives for deliberate mislabeling, or fraud, include the opportunity to take advantage of price differentials between two species, the potential profits from circumventing catch limits on wild-caught stocks, and the desire to gain market access for illegally landed seafood. Forensic analysis of seafood taken from wholesalers, restaurants, and grocery stores in the United States has demonstrated that a cheaper or more abundant product is sometimes mislabeled as a more expensive or less available one (Hsieh et al. 1995; Cline 2012; Warner et al. 2013). A better understanding of the scale and nature of seafood mislabeling is important for improving regulatory efforts and consumer engagement programs aimed at minimizing its societal costs...

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