Seafood Solutions, a California corporation, was sentenced in federal court to pay $1 million in fines and community service payments for its role in the false labeling of frozen fish fillets, the U.S. Department of Justice reported.
The corporation was fined $700,000 and ordered to make a community service donation of $300,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as ordered to forfeit all remaining inventory of falsely labeled fish, among other stipulations of the ruling.
In our own investigative report about mislabeled seafood, we found that more than one-fifth of 190 pieces of seafood we bought at retail stores and restaurants in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut were mislabeled, incompletely labeled, or misidentified by employees.
The mislabeled fish at issue in the Seafood Solutions case was Pangasius hypophthalmus, a species in the catfish family that was misleadingly labeled as “Paradise Grouper” and “Falcon Baie Grouper.”
In 2004, Seafood Solutions began selling a fish it declared to customs as “ponga.” The fish being imported was actually Pangasius hypophthalmus. The fish was then sold under the brand names, and in boxes labeled in part as, “Paradise Grouper” and “Falcon Baie Grouper.”
The case was investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The case is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
For more about how mislabeled seafood—whether deliberate or not—hurts consumers, you can see our full report Mystery fish - The label said red snapper, the lab said baloney, and check out our video below.