First, we discovered that thefish in our sushi isn’t what it claims to be; then, that 30% of U.S. shrimp is making fools of us. Now, a new report from the conservation group Oceana finds that your tasty Maryland crab cake isn’t safe from seafood fraud, either. A full 38% of Maryland crab cakes the group tested contained imported crab from places as far away as Indonesia and Thailand instead of Maryland blue crab.
“Local rare delicacies in seafood are frequently mislabeled because they’re not widely available,” says Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana. “Once you take off the shell of the blue crab and mix it into a patty, it’s hard to tell what it is you’re eating.”
Warner and her colleagues went to restaurants in the Maryland and Washington DC area and collected 90 crab cakes. The researchers sent them to a lab for DNA testing to determine the species of the crab in the cakes. 38% of the crab cakes sold as local blue crab didn’t contain any local blue crab at all; instead, they were stuffed with imported canned swimming crab, mostly from the Indo-Pacific region. The scientists identified eight species, besides blue crabs, in the supposedly blue crab cakes.