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Special report | Fishy business

Accountability lost in murky fish supply chain

Restaurants blame Boston supplier for delivering wrong fish

A year after a Globe investigation found restaurants and stores across Massachusetts were routinely selling cheaper, lower quality fish than they promised customers, a new round of DNA testing shows the vast majority of those venues are still mislabeling seafood. Of the 76 seafood samples tested by the Globe, 76 percent were mislabeled for the second year in a row. The Globe focused most of its testing on certain species that have been identified by regulators as more likely to be mislabeled.

Results
Correctly labeled
Mislabeled

Filter the results by moving or zooming the map

Merchants with mislabeled seafood in 2011 and 2012

Boston

Chinatown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Confirmed escolar
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Chinatown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Ordered correctly from supplier
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Blamed clerical error
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Fenway
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Corrected dinner menu but not online and takeout menus and receipt.
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
Sunshine bass
Jamaica Plain
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Fresh cod
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
not local, usually frozen and a cheaper species
Store response:
Recently revised menu; eliminated the word "fresh"
2011 Item ordered:
Fresh cod
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
Jamaica Plain
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Crimson snapper
Substituted species is...
a cheaper species
Store response:
Confirmed crimson snapper
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Ocean perch
Chinatown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Flounder
DNA result:
Swai
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species
Store response:
Chinese characters on box say flounder, English description says swai
2011 Item ordered:
Flounder
2011 DNA result:
Swai
Chinatown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Sole
DNA result:
Swai
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species
Store response:
Only orders grey sole
2011 Item ordered:
Sole
2011 DNA result:
Swai
Chinatown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Did not return calls
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
South Boston
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Blamed clerical error; said menu has changed
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Roslindale
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna (escolar)
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Most customers know escolar as white tuna
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Most customers know hybrid bass as striped bass
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass

Cape & Islands

Mashpee
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Thought white tuna is another name for escolar
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Atlantic halibut
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Box from supplier labeled as red snapper
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Aquinnah
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Blamed chef's error
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna, Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Escolar, Tilapia
Hyannis Port
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Customers know the name 'red snapper' for tilapia
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Supplier said escolar and white tuna is the same thing; menu lists both
2011 Item ordered:
NA
2011 DNA result:
NA
Falmouth
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Unaware hybrid bass couldn't be called striped bass; planned to change menu
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Ordered correctly from supplier
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Oak Bluffs
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Albacore
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Blamed chef error
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Blamed chef error
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Dennis
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Haddock
Substituted species is...
usually a cheaper species
Store response:
Blamed clerical error
2011 Item ordered:
Sole
2011 DNA result:
Alaska plaice
Edgartown
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Did not return messages
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar

North

Peabody
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
New England fish and chips (cod)
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
not local, usually frozen, and a cheaper species
Store response:
Name refers to New England style of preparation
2011 Item ordered:
New england cod
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
Burlington
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Pinjalo snapper
Substituted species is...
a less expensive species
Store response:
Confirmed different snapper species
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Crimson snapper
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Grouper
DNA result:
Nile perch
Substituted species is...
a less expensive freshwater species
Store response:
Investigating the source of mislabeling
2011 Item ordered:
white tuna
2011 DNA result:
escolar
Saugus
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Confirmed hybrid bass
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna, Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Escolar, Tilapia
Salem
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Substitutes tilapia when out of striped bass
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass, White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia, Escolar
Somerville
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
European sea bass
Substituted species is...
mislabeled
Store response:
Blamed clerical error; revised menu
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
European sea bass
Woburn
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Did not return messages
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Haverhill
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Promised to change menus
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Promised to change menus
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia

West

Brookline
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Ordered striped bass from distributor
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass
Correctly labeled
Item ordered:
Albacore
DNA result:
Albacore
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Bedford
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna (albacore)
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Planned to change menu
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Could not find supplier with red snapper
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Worcester
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Did not return messages but menu lists escolar and white tuna
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Did not return messages
2011 Item ordered:
NA
2011 DNA result:
NA
Wellesley
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Alaskan butterfish
DNA result:
Sablefish
Substituted species is...
mislabeled
Store response:
Blamed clerical error; said menu has changed
2011 Item ordered:
Alaskan butterfish
2011 DNA result:
Sablefish
Worcester
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
New owner unaware of mislabeling
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
New owner unaware of mislabeling
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
white bass
Framingham
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Native scrod (cod)
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
not local, usually frozen, and a cheaper species
Store response:
Could not explain how substitution occurred
2011 Item ordered:
Scrod
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
Natick
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna (escolar)
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Did not return messages
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Correctly labeled
Item ordered:
Tilapia
DNA result:
Tilapia
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia
Brookline
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Planned to change menu
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Serves striped bass most of the time
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass
Chestnut Hill
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Striped bass
DNA result:
White bass
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed hybrid bass, not wild
Store response:
Confirmed hybrid bass
2011 Item ordered:
Super white tuna, Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Escolar, Sea bream
Brookline
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Confirmed escolar, added advisory to menu
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Newton
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Tai/Red Snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia

South

Foxborough
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Local cod
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
not local, usually frozen, cheaper species
Store response:
Menu has been corrected
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Lane snapper
Plymouth
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Grouper
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
a cheaper species
Store response:
Blamed supplier
2011 Item ordered:
NA
2011 DNA result:
NA
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Scrod Nantucket (haddock)
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
frozen, cheaper species, not local
Store response:
Clerical error
2011 Item ordered:
Scrod (haddock)
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
Attleboro
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Local cod
DNA result:
Pacific cod
Substituted species is...
not local, usually frozen, and a cheaper species
Store response:
Blamed clerical error; said menu has changed
2011 Item ordered:
Scrod (haddock)
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
Mattapoisett
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Scrod (haddock)
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
Substituted species is...
mislabeled
Store response:
Blamed clerical error
2011 Item ordered:
Scrod (haddock)
2011 DNA result:
Atlantic cod
Plymouth
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper*
2011 DNA result:
*Tilapia; staff informed tilapia substituted when order picked up
Plymouth
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
Escolar
Substituted species is...
a cause of severe gastrointestinal problems
Store response:
Escolar has become known as white tuna
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Swansea
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
Red snapper
DNA result:
Tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar
Mislabeled
Item ordered:
White tuna
DNA result:
tilapia
Substituted species is...
a cheaper, farmed species, not wild
Store response:
Declined to comment
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia

Merchants with correctly labeled seafood in 2012

Boston

Longwood Medical Area
Correct
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Pacific cod
2011 Item ordered:
Cod
2011 DNA result:
Hake
Dorchester
Correct
Item ordered:
Flounder
DNA result:
Flounder
2011 Item ordered:
Flounder
2011 DNA result:
Swai
Fanueil Hall
Correct
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Fresh cod
2011 DNA result:
Haddock
Back Bay
Correct
Item ordered:
Atlantic cod
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Cod
2011 DNA result:
Haddock

Cape & Islands

Wellfleet
Correct
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Cod
2011 DNA result:
Haddock
Nantucket
Correct
Item ordered:
Halibut
DNA result:
Halibut
2011 Item ordered:
Striped bass
2011 DNA result:
White bass
Nantucket
Correct
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Pacific cod
2011 Item ordered:
Fresh cod
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod
North Eastham
Correct
Item ordered:
Cod
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Haddock
2011 DNA result:
Atlantic cod
Bourne
Correct
Item ordered:
Fresh cod
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Fresh cod
2011 DNA result:
Pacific cod

North

Newburyport
Correct
Item ordered:
Haddock
DNA result:
Haddock
2011 Item ordered:
Cod
2011 DNA result:
Haddock
Peabody
Correct
Item ordered:
Boston scrod (cod)
DNA result:
Atlantic cod
2011 Item ordered:
Cod
2011 DNA result:
Haddock
Cambridge
Correct
Item ordered:
Tilapia
DNA result:
Tilapia
2011 Item ordered:
Red snapper
2011 DNA result:
Tilapia

South

Foxborough
Correct
Item ordered:
Haddock
DNA result:
Haddock
2011 Item ordered:
White tuna
2011 DNA result:
Escolar

West

Westborough
Correct
Item ordered:
Ahi tuna
DNA result:
Yellowfin tuna
2011 Item ordered:
Yellowfin tuna
2011 DNA result:
Southern bluefin tuna
Sources: Biodiversity Institute of Ontario; ACGT, Inc; FDA; restaurants
Tom Giratikanon and Alvin Chang / Globe Staff

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