Bait and Switch: Study Shows Sushi Restaurants Substituting Tuna With Low-Grade Varieties or Even Endangered Species

We previously followed a study of how leading restaurants were found to substitute cheap fish for salmon and other high-end fish without informing customers. Now, biologists have taken it upon themselves to test some of the sushi that they were served and discovered that, rather than tuna, it was often escolar — a fish that is often tied to diarrhea and other negative digestive reactions.

The study was published by PLOS One and was based on a team from Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History. They ordered tuna from 31 sushi restaurants and found that more than half of those eateries misrepresented or could not identify the fish in the dishes. Worst yet, some were selling endangered southern bluefin tuna.

For the full story, click here

7 thoughts on “Bait and Switch: Study Shows Sushi Restaurants Substituting Tuna With Low-Grade Varieties or Even Endangered Species”

  1. @Mike Spindell

    sumeshi (the rice part of sushi) often contains some sugar, salt, and vinegar, though the quantities are not that significant.

    Sushi is one of the few foods where avoiding MSG is fairly easy, however, the same cannot be said for most other Japanese foods (or even a lot of western foods for that matter).

    (I’ve been living in Japan for 6 years and am fairly familiar with this sort of thing, for those that are curious)

  2. I’ve never had grocery store suchi that tasted anywhere near as good as the sushi I get from my favorite restaurant. That includes sushi prepared just for me by the grocery store sushi chef. The stuff in the bins is terrible.

  3. Oh no, not Sushi too! Buddha is right, but unfortunately the quality of any restaurant is not readily discernible. THe other thing about sushi is that those of us who love it maintain the some mistaken belief that it is good for us and has a purity of ingredients. My local supermarket has an excellent fish section and a full time sushi chef. One night I was reading the ingredients on the label of some Sushi I had bought there and discovered high levels of sugar and other things I avoid in my diet. Who knew, I thought i was being a healthy, responsible eater.

  4. Yankee sushi lover here. Until they stopped selling it at Whole Foods a few years ago, I bought, cooked and loved the taste of escolar. I was unaware and thankfully untainted by any “negative digestive reactions”. When I asked why it was no longer available I was told that a woman in Florida had an unspecified bad reaction (and probably sued Whole Foods), so they quit selling it.

  5. AY,

    As a Southerner and a sushi lover, what exactly are you trying to say? That I’m not Southern enough?

    Quite honestly?

    I can’t tell if that’s an insult or a compliment.

    And let this be a lesson to all you childrens. Know your sushi chef. Here’s a hint. He doesn’t usually work at the grocery store in this country. Sushi and sashimi, because they are raw foods, require highest quality ingredients. Substitution has long been an issue with sushi consumers. Shop smart and know your restaurant.

  6. Well as a Professional Courtesy I do not eat catfish. As a Southerner by definition we do not eat bait. You either cook with it or fish with it. You don’t eat it. Geeze, next someone will say that Bacon is bad for you. Now that can makes good bait to.

Comments are closed.