Food Fraud Part 8: Seafood Fraud: The Extent, Consequences and Emerging U.S. Response

Food, Food Manufacturing & Supply Chain, Food Safety & Regulation,
  • Friday, April 10, 2015

Since 2011, Oceana has worked to expose seafood fraud in the U.S. In 2013, Oceana released one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. In 2014, Oceana focused on the misrepresentation of America’s favorite seafood—shrimp. In the report, Oceana found 30 percent of shrimp samples tested to be misrepresented.

In addition to testing seafood, Oceana has compiled more than 100 studies on seafood mislabeling and species substitutions, the most current and comprehensive review of seafood fraud literature to date. Our findings demonstrate that comprehensive requirements for transparency and traceability – ones that track fish from boat to plate – must be established at the national level. At the same time, robust catch documentation, increased inspections and testing of our seafood, specifically for mislabeling, and stronger federal and state enforcement of existing laws combating fraud and illegal fishing are needed to reverse these disturbing trends.

Oceana’s research has generated widespread media attention and has supported its policy work. Most recently, Oceana’s successful campaigning helped to convince President Obama to establish a task force charged with developing recommendations, including domestic and international measures, to stop seafood fraud and end global illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

This webinar will review:

  • What seafood fraud is and why it happens
  • What Oceana’s seafood species substitution testing has found
  • What seafood fraud looks like globally
  • Solutions needed to address this growing problem
  • Emerging policies in the U.S. to address seafood fraud


Kimberly Warner, Ph.D. Senior Scientist Oceana, Washington, DC

Dr. Kimberly Warner is a senior scientist at Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Since 2010, Dr. Warner has been responsible for leading the genetic testing of seafood in support of Oceana’s campaign to Stop Seafood Fraud. Her 2013 nationwide report on fish fraud is the largest study of its kind in the United States. In 2014, she compiled a comprehensive review of the global reach of seafood fraud in an interactive Google map. Her recent work has examined species substitutions and misrepresentation in retail commercial shellfish.

Dr. Warner joined Oceana in 2005 as a marine pollution scientist, where she was responsible for collecting data and performing research in support of Oceana’s campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination, which was primarily focused on mercury pollution.

Dr. Warner has broad experience in marine and freshwater ecosystem science as well as contaminant behavior, fate and toxicity in many aquatic systems.

Prior to joining Oceana, Dr. Warner provided environmental consulting and litigation support on coastal and contaminated sediment issues as a senior scientist with a consulting firm in Mobile, Alabama. Before that position, she worked as a research scientist and instructor at the University of Alabama’s Center for Freshwater Studies and Biology Department. Dr. Warner has also held research positions and fellowships at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and Chesapeake Research Consortium in Maryland and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

Dr. Warner earned her Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences from the University of Maryland in 1999, with a focus on biogeochemistry and microbial ecology. She has undergraduate degrees in Marine and Environmental Science from the University of the District of Columbia

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Who Should Attend?

This eCongress will be of interest to anyone interested in preventing food fraud and ensuring the safety, quality and authenticity of the food and drink sector:

  • Food manufacturers
  • Ingredient & raw material suppliers
  • Retailers & distributors
  • Food Safety Authorities
  • Packaging companies
  • Certification & standards agencies
  • Consumer groups
  • Food scientists
  • Academics & researchers
  • Customs and border protection
  • Associations & non-profits

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