QUEENS, NY (TIP): Governor Cuomo signed into law Senator Tony Avella and Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee’s bill that prohibits the willful sale of escolar mislabeled as tuna. Although escolar is a species of fish that is commercially available in its own right, it has a significantly lower market value than tuna.
Senator Avella’s bill (S6842B) was introduced after recent, independent investigations revealed significant levels of fraud and species misidentification in the commercial fish industry in the United States.
In New York City, one investigation found that over 40 percent of fish samples tested were mislabeled or misidentified. One of the most common species of fish consistently found to be misidentified were those advertised as “white tuna” or “albacore tuna”. The species most commonly substituted for white or albacore tuna is escolar, a species of snake mackerel.
Not only does the mislabeling result in New Yorkers purchasing a lesser quality fish for a higher market price, it also increases the chance of digestive illness due to escolar’s purgative effects.
“When you pay a higher price for tuna, you should be getting exactly that. Not a cheap imitation that can cause illness. The FDA already advises against the sale or marketing of escolar in interstate commerce, its time New York took a stand to protect its citizens from mislabeling of food” said Senator Avella.
“I am pleased the Governor has signed into law our legislation that would protect the consumers by preventing fraud and possible illness due to the intentional sale and misbranding of certain fish species. Deliberately mislabeling certain fish species that have significantly lower market values than tuna is not only deceitful, but potentially harmful to the public” added Assembly Member Jaffee.