substitution (4)

10235438880?profile=RESIZE_180x180The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) are today advising consumers that some food products labelled as containing sunflower oil may instead contain refined rapeseed oil. This is happening to maintain the supply of certain food products containing ingredients that have become increasingly difficult to source because of the conflict in Ukraine.

The majority of the UK’s sunflower oil comes from Ukraine and food businesses here are reporting that supplies of sunflower oil are likely to run out in a few weeks with some businesses already experiencing severe difficulties.

This has led to some food manufacturers urgently replacing sunflower oil with refined rapeseed oil before being able to make the change on the label. We are therefore advising that food products labelled as containing sunflower oil may instead have been produced using refined rapeseed oil and consumers should look out for additional information being provided by retailers and manufacturers  to stay informed.

The FSA and FSS have published the rapid risk assessment into the substitution of sunflower oil with refined rapeseed oil as part of their commitment to making public the science and evidence underpinning their advice and guidance. 

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

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1616616305041?e=1619654400&v=beta&t=XYAFbfDlinVazIDS3Rar2BUkVVLK_ypq0_nDOwhm0bwThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has published a report on fish species substitution surveillance.

Fish filets in fresh, frozen, dried, or salted format were collected to determine if the common name was accurately represented in relation to the species of fish. CFIA inspectors collected fish samples at domestic processors, importers and retail establishments (fish packaged at retail). The Ministère de l'Agriculture, Pêcheries et l'Alimentation du Québec (MAPAQ) collected retail samples in Québec. From April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, 362 samples were collected from across Canada.

The samples were tested at a CFIA laboratory using DNA-based fish species identification testing. This method compares DNA of samples against DNA barcode sequences for known fish species contained in a database.

The results showed that 92% of the samples tested were assessed as being satisfactory.

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Oceana, a nonprofit seafood conservation group, did a study back in 2015 and found that 43 percent of the salmon they tested was actually mislabeled.

Most of that salmon fraud ― we’re talking 69 percent of it ― mislabeled farmed salmon as being wild-caught salmon, which is typically more revered. That means you could be paying for a wild-caught Pacific salmon filet, when in fact you’re getting Atlantic farmed salmon.

Other fraud in the salmon market occurs when “one type of wild salmon is substituted for another, like the cheaper chum salmon or pink salmon being sold as a more expensive salmon like coho or sockeye,” Kimberly Warner, chief scientist at Oceana, told HuffPost.

Most of the fraud happens at restaurants.

Oceana found that most of the fraud from their study occurred at restaurants (67 percent vs. 20 percent at big chain retailers). Smaller grocery markets were also often guilty of salmon fraud. Big chain retailers are your safest bet for getting the salmon you actually want. But it isn’t always restaurants or markets pulling a fast one on consumers. 

Sometimes the restaurants and retailers are the victims.

“What we’re dealing with is two different types of fraud,” Gavin Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute told HuffPost. “One is species substitution, where the retailer or restaurant is the victim. They’re being defrauded because the person selling them the salmon tells them it’s one thing when it’s not. The other side of it is menu mislabeling or just mislabeling in a retail establishment, and that’s when they say it’s wild-caught salmon but they know it’s farmed salmon. So there’s two distinctly different things, but they’re both fraud.”

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