The California Department of Fish and Wildlife found that nine San Diego restaurants have been using cheap fish like crawfish and pollock in their so-called “lobster” sushi rolls, and serving it to unknowing diners. Investigators ordered lobster rolls from the restaurants in question and DNA tested the products to determine whether or not the food contained any lobster. Every roll failed the test and now the restaurants must own up to pulling a fast one on customers.
Kathryn Turner, the chief deputy of the city attorney’s consumer and environmental protection unit in San Diego, explains, “The investigators went to the restaurants and said, ‘Show us your lobster or your lobster invoices.'” None of the restaurants were able to comply.
Eight of the nine restaurants faced $14,000 worth of fines, and one restaurant has gone out of business. To prevent this issue from happening again in the future, the restaurants still in business are being asked to provide warning labels on their menu to warn customers of any potential lobster-free lobster rolls. The Los Angeles Times reports in the state of California, it is illegal to mislabel food items, due to the fact that people with food allergies could unknowingly develop an allergic reaction to food they can’t eat.
Has this news left you feeling deceived and wary of the food you eat? Just know that most of that red snapper you’re eating is actually rockfish, the “wild” salmon you love so much is farmed, and that grouper you just ordered is, in fact, Vietnamese catfish.