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Boylan calls for increased sanctions in cases of food fraud

12 November, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has called for better transparency and increased sanctions in cases of food fraud.

Speaking after revelations of a seafood fraud in Brussels, Ms Boylan said,

"Oceana, an international organization focused solely on oceans, has disclosed research showing that, on average, 30% of seafood served in Brussels restaurants did not correspond to the species ordered by the consumer.

"The DNA identification analysis was performed after over 280 samples were gathered in more than 150 restaurants and EU institutions. Seafood fraud, widespread mislabelling and fraudulent practices cheat's consumers and can often involve illegal or unsustainable fishing products.

"Key findings of Oceana’s study reveals that economic reasons are the main driver behind the seafood fraud, resulting in consumer deception. Expensive species, such as cod or sole, sold for as much as 30 or 40 euros per dish, can be substituted by cheap, farmed Pangasius.

"On top of economic fraud, fish substitution is an environmental problem as illegal fish and/or threatened and protected species can enter the market. Additionally, it carries a health risk for consumers since non-traceable fish may not have been subjected to regular health and sanitary checks.

"Similar to the horsemeat scandal in Ireland in 2013, there is no room for error in EU traceability systems. There needs to be greater transparency in terms of food origin and indeed greater sanctions for those involved in food fraud - after all it is a criminal offence.

"This is something I have raised at an EU level, as a member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee and will continue to do so until we see results." ENDS

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