New Study Reveals Shocking Facts About Fish Fraud

We knew the fake fish and sushi industry was bad, but we didn't know it was this bad

Unfortunately, fish fraud is nothing new. From mislabeled sushi to overpriced seafood, the issue spans the entire globe and seafood industry. A new report, however, reveals shocking new facts about the far reaches of fish fraud.

Oceana, an international ocean conservation organization, released a report on the world of fish fraud spanning 55 countries and 200 studies, which concluded that one in five of more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested globally was mislabeled, according to Time. In the U.S. alone, about 30 percent of seafood was found to be fraudulent, with snapper, grouper and salmon being the most commonly mislabeled types. However, the problem is worldwide, and Oceana's interactive map shows how far the fraud goes.

Extreme cases were also prevalent  in Italy, where 82 percent of studied samples of grouper, perch and swordfish were mislabeled, and close to half of the substituted fish were types at risk for extinction, Time reports. A California sushi restaurant was even found to be selling whale meat as tuna.

Not only is fish fraud a "serious global problem that undermines honest businesses and fishermen that play by the rules," as Oceana states, it's also a serious health risk to consumers who are unknowingly affected. In the U.S. alone, 58 percent of samples tested were found to be species that could cause health complications, possibly containing allergens and toxins that should have been detected during screening processes.

Though President Obama has taken a stand against fish fraud and consumers are encouraged to ask more questions of their suppliers before buying, the problem isn't going away just yet. Meanwhile, maybe think twice before ordering your next spicy tuna roll.