Consumers react as trout categorized as salmon

Over 80 percent of respondents to a recent consumer survey say a policy that allows rainbow trout to be sold as salmon is misleading.

Over 80 percent of respondents to a recent consumer survey say an industry regulation that allows rainbow trout to be sold as salmon is misleading.

The Shanghai Consumer Council conducted the survey, which involved 2,653 online respondents. 

It comes after the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance released a group standard earlier this month allowing rainbow trout to be categorized and sold as salmon. 

Over 18 percent of respondents also said they would not eat or purchase salmon purchased in China because of the controversial new standard.

The council will host a meeting today on the matter with representatives from the seafood industry alliance.

“I do not dare to eat salmon in Shanghai, for fear of getting infected with parasites,” said Lily Gao, a local resident who works at a travel agency. “I think businesses are cheating consumers because rainbow trout is not salmon for sure.”

CCTV-2 had earlier reported that over one-third of “salmon” on the Chinese market is actually rainbow trout harvested from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Salmon is not a “strict academic term” in the Chinese language, which contributes to the controversy, said Ge Jinhai, executive director of the Shanghai Aquatic Products Business and Trade Association, a group not related to the alliance.

“When we say salmon, we refer to deep-sea salmon in most cases — mainly from Norway or Alaska — which is totally different from Qinghai rainbow trout raised in fresh water,” said Ge.

In addition, the wholesale price of deep-sea salmon is 100 yuan (US$14.60) to 140 yuan per kilogram, compared with less than 60 yuan for freshwater rainbow trout, said Ge.

“It is very difficult for consumers to tell the difference between the two by their appearance,” said Ge. “The nutritional content of fresh sea fish is far different from deep-sea fish species as well.”

There are also safety concerns related to eating uncooked rainbow trout. 

Experts say the human digestive system can be more easily infected by freshwater fish parasites than those which live in saltwater species.




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