More than 99% of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-labeled products are correctly labeled, according to DNA test results released by MSC, Washington, D.C. By comparison, Oceana's nationwide survey in 2013 found one-third (33%) of U.S. seafood samples genetically analyzed to be mislabeled.
In 2015, the MSC commissioned the Wildlife DNA Forensics unit at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), UK, to conduct DNA tests on a random sample of 257 MSC eco-labeled seafood products from 16 countries. The test verified that the species described on the packaging is the same as that in the product.
Two-thirds (67%) of U.S. seafood consumers say they want to know that their fish can be traced back to a known and trusted source, with 58% saying they look to eco-labels as a trusted source of information, the study says. Globally, 55% doubt that the seafood they consume is what it says on the package. These findings are from the MSC's latest survey of more than 16,000 seafood consumers across 21 countries.
"The MSC's DNA results prove you can trust that seafood sold with the blue MSC eco-label really is what the package says it is and can be traced from ocean to plate,” says Brian Perkins, MSC regional director – Americas. “Last month, the U.S. government announced proposed rules that would require tracking to combat illegal fishing and fraud. Many businesses are left wondering whether they're selling seafood that was produced legally and sustainably. MSC certification means consumers and businesses can be confident that MSC eco-labeled fish has been caught legally and can be traced back to a sustainable source."
The latest round of DNA testing is the fifth to be commissioned by the MSC. Previous results also showed very little mislabeling of MSC eco-labeled seafood. MSC eco-labeled fish is sold and processed by certified organizations operating in more than 38,000 sites in over 100 countries. Fishers, processors, retailers and chefs handling MSC-certified seafood must follow strict requirements to ensure that seafood is traceable and correctly labeled.
There are now more than 20,000 MSC eco-labeled products available in 100 countries.