The the EU countries were asked to sample both unprocessed and processed products from all parts of the food processing chain. 62% of samples were from unprocessed products and 38% from processed products. The distribution of non-compliant samples was even between the two categories (see table 1).
45% of the samples were taken at retail level and 3% of the samples were taken at points of import (BIPs). The rest were evenly divided between markets/traders, cold stores, processing establishments and mass caterers1. The distribution of non-compliant samples was slightly higher at BIPs, retail and mass caterers, but the difference is not significantly higher (see table 2).
The most numerous non-compliances were reported in products declared as Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and different species of hake (Merluccius spp.), but these were also the species most often sampled. When correlated to the number of samples taken per species or group of species, the most common non-compliances were detected in Grouper (Epinephelus spp.), Common sole (Solea solea) and Yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera) (see table 3).
It is notable that pangasius (Pangasius spp.) was only identified as a substitute species in a few cases (3%). This is notable, since earlier reports often implicated pangasius in mislabelled white fish products.
It has to be noted that in some instances the laboratories participating did not manage to identify the substituted species used. It is also of interest to note that 91 samples (2%) were defined as “no-result”, due to the fact that the declared species could neither be detected nor excluded. These results may be considered as a signal that the current methodologies still need to be further developed.
1. Mass caterers are any establishment (including a vehicle or a fixed or mobile stall), such as restaurants, canteens, schools, hospitals and catering enterprises in which, in the course of a business, food is prepared to be ready for consumption by the final consumer.