Re the July 22 article Fish you buy may not be what you think: A recent investigation by the Oceana Foundation, an ocean conservation group, showed that in South Florida one in three grocery stores, restaurants and sushi venues served fraudulently labeled seafood in their establishments.
If this study is correct, we at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association find the results unacceptable.
We fully support enforcement efforts requiring truthful labeling and representation of all seafood products. It is essential that restaurants protect themselves and their customers by finding traceable and reliable seafood suppliers and providers.
We also strongly recommend that all restaurant patrons become informed consumers. They should expect to be given properly labeled and correctly handled seafood at each and every dining experience, but they should do a little checking on their own. Ask restaurants about their seafood, where it comes from and how they track it to ensure freshness.
Imported food products should be rigorously monitored, inspected and certified. To be sure, the shorter a supply chain, the more consumers and restaurateurs can be confident that they are being served the freshest and properly labeled seafood. For example a “Fresh from Florida” designation by the Florida Department of Agriculture is a good starting point for consumers.
FRLA works diligently to protect, educate and promote consumers and the industry. We believe those who knowingly and willfully misrepresent the identity of any food or food product should be dealt the maximum penalty that the law allows.
Carol Dover, president and CEO, Florida Restaurant
and Lodging Association, Tallahassee