As the weather warms, shrimp will soon be offered for sale out of the backs of pickup trucks along U.S. 278. Tourists and locals alike will be tempted to pull over and pick up a few pounds of what they believe to be a fresh, local delight.
Similar seafood temptations will be offered on restaurant menus and in grocery store display cases.
But consumers should be careful. There's no guarantee that the seafood is fresh or that it came from within the United States, much less the S.C. coast -- no matter what the label reads or the server claims.
Inferior, imported seafood is being mislabeled and sold across the country. Last year, the conservation group Oceana reported that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 seafood samples it purchased and tested nationwide were mislabeled. For example, only seven of the 120 samples of fish purported to be red snapper really were red snapper. Another investigation by The Boston Globe in the Boston metro area yielded similar results.