Proposed bill strengthens punishments for mislabeling seafood

Posted Jun 2, 2014 by Walter McDaniel
Senator Alex Padilla has proposed a bill for tougher restrictions on labeling seafood. While it is already illegal to mislabel products the bill would put harsher penalties on those caught doing so.
Some people thought they were getting this fish when they were eating Tilapia.
Some people thought they were getting this fish when they were eating Tilapia.
Red Snapper from Wikimedia
Senator Padilla claims that many of those who advertise their products such as lemon sole were eating blackback flounder. He also claims that man other varieties were mislabeled including red snapper and white tuna.
Therefore he has proposed a new bill which would give a $1,000 fine to offenders and also give them up to a year in jail. He also went on to say that some of the mislabeled fish contained high traces of mercury which poses dangers both for adults and developing children. Scientific studies have shown enhanced levels of mercury can impair cognitive function.
The need for the bill comes from the fact that some producers are willing to take minor punishments for a profit. This is something that happens in many sectors of business since the benefits far outweigh the risks. While government agencies enforce this on a federal level it can be more difficult to catch every offender at the state level.
Padilla pointed out that "The seafood we order should be the seafood we are served." in an LA Times article. The proposal itself seems to be popular as neither businesses nor the legislature have pushed against it so far. If it goes through we would see some tighter laws that may be controversial.