Cod mislabelling eradicated in Dublin's supermarkets but not takeaways

Jan 24, 2014
Cod mislabelling eradicated in Dublin's supermarkets but not takeaways

The Irish media's coverage of the fish mislabelling scandal in 2010 contributed to ending the practice of cod mislabelling in supermarkets but not in takeaways, a study has found.

Four years ago a genetic study, the first study of its kind in Ireland, uncovered the widespread mislabelling of cod in Dublin's and takeaways, finding that 28% of the products belonged to a different species of .

All nine of Ireland's national daily newspapers, two national radio programmes and one national TV news broadcast covered the study findings. International media including the Guardian in the UK also reported the findings.

In 2011, Professor Stefano Mariani of the University of Salford, who co-authored the original research while he was at University College Dublin, investigated the effect of the media scrutiny with colleagues from University College Dublin and the University of British Colombia, revisiting the same Dublin shops to genetically test products labelled as cod.

In a study published today in the journal Conservation Letters, the researchers found that the practice of mislabelling had been completely eradicated in the surveyed supermarkets. However, they found that mislabelling was still rife in the takeaway industry, where 41.7% of fish was still mislabelled as cod (compared to 50% in 2010).

Professor Mariani said: "The timeline of events suggests that the media highlighting the findings of the first mislabelling study put the large supermarkets under intense scrutiny, which acted as a positive catalyst for change."

"This hasn't happened to the same degree in the takeaway industry, probably due to the less systematic custom and the convenient nature of the food. Supermarket chains constantly compete to attract and maintain a faithful custom, and their size and financial power may allow them to exert greater control over the supply chain."

"Despite the impact of media coverage in this instance, it remains necessary that the authorities commit to adequate effective enforcement, in order to eradicate illegal practices in the sector."

Explore further: Study finds 'ray' wings sold to consumers include vulnerable species, can be mislabeled

More information: Mariani, S., Ellis, J., O'Reilly, A., Bréchon, A. L., Sacchi, C. and Miller, D. D. (2014), "Mass media influence and the regulation of illegal practices in the seafood market." Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12085

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DNA barcoding reveals mislabeled cod and haddock in Dublin

Apr 22, 2010

Ecological scientists in Ireland recently used DNA barcoding to identify species of fish labeled as either "cod" or "haddock" in fish and chip shops, fresh fish counters and supermarkets in 10 postal districts in Dublin. ...

Cod's mysterious defence strategies

Jan 13, 2014

There may be entirely new vaccines in the offing for the aquaculture industry, if Monica Hongrø Solbakken can figure out cod's unconventional ways of resisting infection.

Recommended for you

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

3 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

3 hours ago

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

13 hours ago

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

14 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.