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Massachusetts Lawmakers Cracking Down on Mislabeled Seafood

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Massachusetts lawmakers are proposing a bill that would come down hard on stores and restaurants that misrepresent or mislabel seafood, and would even ban the sale of one kind of fish.

The bill, proposed by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, is expected to be filed Friday. Businesses misrepresenting seafood could be fined $800 and have their licenses to operate suspended or revoked.

The move comes after published stories reported restaurants and stores knowingly selling cheaper, lower-quality fish labeled as more expensive, higher-quality varieties. DNA testing showed the mis-marking of Pacific cod as the more expensive Atlantic species, and tilapia as red snapper. The bill would also ban the sale of escolar, often mislabeled as tuna. Escolar can cause gastrointestinal distress.

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