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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Seafood Species Substitution and Economic Fraud


Seafood Substitution

Economic Deception or Fraud in the sale of seafood occurs when a less expensive species is substituted for a more expensive-species. For example, the substitution of less expensive snappers (Lutjanus spp.) or rockfish (Sebastes spp.) for more expensive red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) in interstate commerce constitutes fraud and is prohibited under the Misbranding Section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act Section 403: MISBRANDED FOOD. (See also, United States Code, Title 21, Chapter 9,  Section 403(b) - Misbranded food: A food shall be deemed to be misbranded if it is offered for sale under the name of another food.


FDA's Examples of Substituted Seafood

Products in Column A have been known to be substituted for those in Column B,
which in most cases are products that are more expensive.
Column AColumn B
Various Snappers (Lutjanus spp.)Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)
Rockfish (Sebastes spp.)Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus)
YellowtailMahi Mahi
Mako SharkSwordfish
Oreo Dory or John DoryOrange Roughy
Alaska PollockCod
Sea BassHalibut
Arrowtooth Flounder Dover Sole
Black Drum Red Drum (Red Fish; Southern or Gulf)
White Perch Lake or Yellow Perch (Great Lakes)
ZanderLake or Yellow Perch (Great Lakes)
Paddlefish and other Fish RoeCaviar (Sturgeon species)
Sauger Walleye
Pacific Salmon Atlantic Salmon
Pink Salmon Chum Salmon
Skate WingsScallops
Alaskan PollockWalleye
Steelhead TroutSalmon
Imported CrabmeatBlue Crabmeat
Farm Raised SalmonWild Caught Salmon
Top ShellAbalone

Current price information can be obtained at one of the websites listed below: