Maryland Introduces Bill To Prevent Seafood Fraud - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Maryland Introduces Bill To Prevent Seafood Fraud

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MARYLAND - On Wednesday, Maryland Del. Eric Luedtke introduced the "Maryland Seafood Authenticity and Enforcement Act," which would reportedly provide Maryland residents with more information about the seafood they purchase.

In addition to requiring that seafood is properly identified at the point of sale, on the label, sign or menu, the bill would also reportedly prohibit a seller from knowingly mislabeling a species. Officials say if the bill is passed, there would also be stronger regulations for the labeling of Maryland's iconic blue crab, including identifying its origin and limiting sales of a product labeled "blue crab" to the actual species callinectes sapidus, which is reportedly the crab that Maryland is known for rather than an imposter in disguise.

Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization, says they  welcome the new legislation and applaud Maryland policymakers for helping to stop a seafood bait and switch in their state. They feel that seafood fraud hurts honest fishermen, seafood businesses and consumers, and allows illegally caught fish to enter our markets.

Last year, Oceana reportedly found one-third of seafood tested around the country to be mislabeled according to the Food and Drug Administration's guidelines, including 26 percent of the seafood tested in the Washington, DC and Maryland area.

However, for Rich Evenusa, one of the owners of Beach to Bay Seafood in Princess Anne, Maryland, says while the bill may be a good idea, it could be more trouble than what its worth.

"There could be a benefit, but it could also really be a hassle for us to have to try to label everything that we have in there," says Evenusa. "Are we going to have to determine and find out from our picker every day about where they are getting crabs? It could be very confusing to the consumer."

For more information about seafood fraud and Oceana's campaign, visit their website.


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