Fraud: California Crackdown on Menu Mislabeling

According to the SF Gate an “upscale restaurant” called Odeum in Morgan Hill, Santa Clara County was passing off tilapia as petrale sole for more than a year; fish fraud. After an investigation by the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office the fish switch will cost the restaurant $120,000 in restitution and civil penalties.

California Getting Tough on Fish Fraud

This latest effort is more evidence that California is getting tough on menu mislabeling when it comes to seafood.  In 2015 the City Attorney in San Diego nailed 8 sushi restaurants for deceiving customers. Not only did they earn themselves criminal convictions but they were required to reimburse law enforcement for the cost of the investigation.

Enforcement is Key

News of today’s action illustrates just what the Better Seafood Board has been saying all along. We don’t need new laws we need effective implementation of laws that exist.

Often cited in reports on “fish fraud” are the efforts of the conservation group Oceana. But it’s focus on expanded regulation illustrates a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to this type of fraud and what works in policing it. The laws, rules and regulations we need are already on the books. This is an issue of enforcement. Whether it’s the City Attorney in San Diego going after menu mislabeling or the U.S. Attorney’s office in North Carolina securing felony mislabeling convictions, investigation and prosecution is the answer.