New law protects branding of tuna in New York

Posted at 7:10 AM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 07:10:16-04

New York has outlawed selling snake mackerel or other fish species misidentified as tuna.

The new law, effective next January, prohibits wholesalers, distributors or retail stores from selling the misbranded fish, which can cause diarrhea.

Sponsors say recent investigations have shown significant fraud in the U.S. commercial fish industry, with one probe finding up to 40 percent of the samples checked in New York City were misidentified.

They say the most common substitution is escolar, a species of snake mackerel, sold as white or albacore tuna. Escolar is cheaper and carries a risk of digestive illness.

The law also bans a related species, oilfish, another substitute sometimes sold as tuna.

Under the law, state agriculture authorities can order misbranded food seized, quarantined and destroyed, with the owner financially responsible.