Their motives may not be vindictive, but a recent research study shows that a good percentage of the fish served in restaurants may not be what it was described as on the menu.

Some of the problems might be the result of inexperienced fish mongers;  Other problems lie in the marketing methods of distributors and language translations.

The study shows that one of the most mis-identified fish is the white tuna.

The Food and Drug Administration's Seafood List, considered the gold standard on matters of seafood labeling, doesn't include "white tuna" as an "acceptable market name" for any species of fresh fish, but a layperson seeing that name would at least expect that it's a kind of tuna. Yet the Oceana tests found that 94 percent of samples of fish listed as "white tuna" were actually escolar, a white-fleshed fish in the snake mackerel family that has long been known to cause gastrointestinal difficulties in those who eat it.

What's a customer to do?  Perhaps, not much.  But if fish varieties are vitally important to you, it helps to know the source of your fish and to ask questions of the restaurant you're eating at.

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