Seafood & Travel

Dining on Seafood When You Travel

Part of the joy of traveling is the opportunity to try fresh and local cuisine. However, visiting new and unfamiliar restaurants across the country can also mean taking certain risks. When dining out in Louisiana, could you distinguish local-caught shrimp versus shrimp imported from abroad? How about Maryland crab from Chinese crab? At a glance, would you be able to spot the differences between white tuna and escolar, a commonly mislabeled product known to cause serious intestinal issues (according to Oceana, an ocean conservation group)? Getting sick while traveling is the last thing any of us wants

Worldwide, the demand for seafood is increasing, but due to overfishing, and destructive fishing and farming practices, the food we enjoy is in trouble. When supply doesn’t meet demand, seafood substitution occurs more often than many of us would like to think. How do you know that what’s being served is the tuna described on the menu?

After a fish is filleted and processed, the only way any of us can really know for sure what’s being served is through proprietary DNA testing. BonafIDcatch believes you have the right to know what’s on your plate.

Protecting yourself when you travel means looking for the BonafIDcatch seal, recognizing certain phrases used on menus, and asking businesses some of the following questions:

  1. Are you BonafIDcatch approved?
  2. Can you tell me about your local seafood supplier? (To determine if seafood has been caught locally)
  3. What is your seafood sustainability policy? (To determine if the retailer supports the health of the ocean)
  4. Is your seafood supplied fresh or frozen? (To help determine age of seafood and if it’s local)
  5. Is your seafood wild-caught or farmed? (To determine antibiotic use)
  6. Is your seafood imported? (To determine if the American economy is supported)

You can make healthy choices and support ocean friendly practices when you ask businesses about the origin of the seafood they sell. Asking questions will let businesses know that sustainability is important to you. If the wording on a menu is vague or fishy, you’ll want to ask your server for clarification. Just because a menu lists a salmon entrée doesn’t mean the species served is sustainable. In some cases, it is Atlantic salmon – produced in foreign countries where fish farming pollutes the

environment with feed use and the spread of disease – rather than Chinook salmon caught by responsible American fishermen.

Another way to take control of your seafood dining experience while traveling is with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch App. Seafood sustainability is constantly changing, and this app helps you make choices based on data that shows which species have been well managed, and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife. In addition, the app suggests good alternatives if your preferred species is unavailable. It informs you of any concerns with how they’re caught or farmed, as well as what to avoid due to overfishing or damage to other marine life and the environment.

New restaurants and businesses are opening every day in the United States, and the FDA does not have the necessary capacity to monitor and enforce food safety guidelines in all of these establishments. BonafIDcatch’s seafood DNA testing addresses the mislabeling issues by testing where it matters most…at the plate.