July 26, 2013

High Tech Seafood?

The deceptive practice of bait and switch seafood in restaurants and grocery stores has been a hot topic, particularly in California. San Diego sushi chef Rob Ruiz says he has a solution: smart phone QR codes printed on edible rice paper.

The idea is simple. Customers could scan the printed code with their smart phones to find out where the seafood was caught and how. The chef hopes that this would put an end to the fraudulent practice such as putting sustainable tuna on the menu and serving up escolar, a fish known to cause stomach discomfort in some people.

International ocean conservancy Oceana  launched a seafood fraud investigation that found one third of fish sold in grocery stores and restaurants to be misrepresented. Sushi restaurants as a group were found to be mislabeled a shocking 74 percent of the time. 

With well-meaning customers paying higher prices for sustainable or wild-caught seafood, it is disturbing to know that they are often taken advantage of. The QR code idea, and scanning your dinner plate, may seem a bit odd but with a wealth of information available at our finger tips the codes could empower customers to make decisions that are better for their bodies, their wallets and the environment. 

Thanks to grist.com for this photo

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