Is the Fish You're Eating Fake & Can It Make You Sick?

Playing Are You Eating Fake Fish?

Could the fish you’re eating actually be fake and could it make you sick? The Doctors investigate the growing fish fraud problem.

The Doctors ordered white tuna and red snapper from 12 different restaurants that ranged in price from low to high and sent the fish to a lab to test its DNA – and the results were shocking!

In our test, all of the fish which claimed to be white tuna were actually a cheap substitute fish named escolar. This type of fish has been dubbed "Ex-Lax fish," as it is known to cause gastrointestinal problems and diarrhea. Most of the red snapper we tested was porgy or sea bream fish and was dyed red with food coloring.

Watch: Mercury Levels in Sushi, Should You Be Worried?

The Doctors spoke with author Larry Olmsted, who wrote “Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don't Know What You're Eating and What You Can Do about It,” to get to the bottom of this imposter food issue. Larry explains that the FDA is required to inspect only 2 percent of our imported seafood, but usually falls short of their of their yearly quotas. With 93 percent of our seafood being imported, there are many opportunities for fake fish to possibly end up being served.   

“Unfortunately, seafood is the worst category for food fraud of any of the kinds of foods we eat,” he tells The Doctors

Watch: Skin Infection from Raw Fish?

The Doctors and Larry point out that there is no such species as “white tuna” and it usually is escolar, which is banned in Japan and parts of Europe due to how dangerous it is to humansWhile there is no surefire way to find out if your fish is what it claims to be (short of getting it DNA tested) Larry recommends asking restaurants who their seafood distributor is because if they do not know or don’t have a good answer, he says that is a sign of a possible red flag. 

Next time you dine at your favorite sushi restaurant, skip the white tuna option and it something seems fishy about the fish, skip it all together!