June 2, 2014
There's something fishy about some of the seafood we eat in California, says state Sen. Alex Padilla, and he wants to change that.
According to a recent report, shoppers and diners who thought they were buying lemon sole wound up eating blackback flounder, red snapper fans got tilapia, and white tuna in sushi was actually escolar.
The 2013 study by Oceana, an aquatic conservation group, has spurred Padilla (D-Pacoima) to write a seafood mislabeling bill. The measure, SB 1138, would make it illegal to offer to sell misbranded seafood, and last week it passed the Senate on a 36-0 vote. It now goes to the Assembly.
The law would be enforced by the state Department of Public Health along with state and local prosecutors. First-time violators could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail, plus civil penalties.
"To protect our health, oceans and economy, it is essential that the seafood be labeled accurately," Padilla said. "The seafood we order should be the seafood we are served."