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Food Safety News – Rep. Markey Introduces SAFE Seafood Act to Combat Fish Fraud

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA.) on Wednesday re-introduced a new, bipartisan version of a previously-introduced bill to combat widespread seafood fraud “that cheats fishermen and consumers, while posing health risks to pregnant mothers and others,” according to Markey.

The bill comes on the heels of recent studies that found, on average, 33 percent of the time seafood is mislabeled in restaurants, supermarkets, and other retail locations across the United States. This second version of the legislation “reflects intensive discussions with fishermen, consumer and conservation groups, and federal agencies that improved the original legislation,” according to a statement put out by Markeys office.

“Fish fraud is a national problem that needs a national solution. This bill finally tells the seafood swindlers and fish fraudsters that we will protect America’s fishermen and consumers from Massachusetts to Alaska,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee. “From tackle to table, this bill makes the entire seafood supply chain more transparent and trustworthy.”

A summary of the bill notes that the Government Accountability Office estimates that only 2 percent of seafood imported into the U.S. is inspected, and that only 0.001 percent is inspected for seafood fraud. “This puts U.S. consumers at risk of being swindled and sickened. It also puts U.S. fishermen at risk of having the prices they receive for their catch undercut by inferior and falsely labeled foreign product,” read the summary.