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The Boston Globe



Escolar: Label it accurately, but don’t ban it

Any fish that can produce such severe gastrointestinal distress that it’s nicknamed the “Ex-Lax fish” is obviously not for everyone. The question confronting state lawmakers is whether escolar, an oily fish native to tropical and temperate waters, should be sold to anyone.

A proposed ban on selling escolar in Massachusetts is part of a package of measures that has been drawn up by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure to thwart the rampant mislabeling of seafood. In addition to banning escolar, which is already outlawed in Japan and Italy, the legislation would impose fines of up to $800 for supermarkets and restaurants that misrepresent their fish. Repeat offenders could lose their license to operate. The proposal comes after a Globe investigation found dozens of restaurants substituting cheaper fish for the more expensive species listed on the menu; escolar is frequently sold as white tuna or albacore.

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