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Dutch fishmongers flout labeling rules, fish origins often unclear

Photo: Odi Busman Photo: Odi Busman

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 99% of Dutch fishmongers are flouting the rules on sustainability labelling and information, consumer organisation Consumentenbond has found.

Only one of the 97 fishmongers checked displayed cards with all the regulatory information, including the type of fish, provenance and whether the fish is wild or farmed.

The rest either gave no or partial information, the Consumentenbond said. Information on sustainability given by fishmongers in answer to questions on the spot also turned out to be wrong or incomplete.

This makes it almost impossible for consumers to make an informed choice about which fish to buy, the organisation said. Three quarters of the fishmongers who had no information on display said they preferred to give customers product information themselves.

Half claimed customers don’t read the information on cards and labels anyway and 19% said putting labels was too time consuming and that the information often changed. However, 70% of fishmongers said customers frequently asked them about the origins of the fish on sale.

A survey among customers showed that 44% has no idea whether the fish they are buying is from a sustainable source or not. Some 45% said they would be more inclined to buy more sustainable fish if the information was clear to see and the price remained the same.

Supermarkets make it easier to buy fish from sustainable sources because the products they sell carry labels such as MSC, ASC and EU-biologisch, the consumers lobby said.


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