Wildlife agents find falsely labeled salmon at markets

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 22 at 7:02 PM

SEATTLE - Teams of federal and state wildlife enforcement officers have just inspected a market in Seattle's International District.

"Give me a couple hours and I'll find labeling violations," said Officer Eric Olson of Washington Fish & Wildlife Enforcement.

It didn't take him long to find multiple instances of mislabeling and faulty paperwork in this market and one in White Center. Today the team is looking at some smaller markets but recent investigations with federal National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) Agents found widespread mislabeling among small and large operators.

"We see it's called a ludufresh salmon, but we all know there's no such thing," NMFS Special Agent Mailie Bliss pointed out on one package.

Bliss and Olson told us the companies are not charged yet and are complying so they will not be named.

"We were looking at markets and dealers that a lot of people think are more reputable," said Bliss.

They explained the risks are as widespread as the mislabeling. Proper paperwork can help them track food back to the source to make sure it was legally harvested. It can prevent stores from labeling farmed fish as wild, and in some cases find shellfish that was gathered from beaches that were closed because of health issues. 

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