Partner with your supplier to fight fish fraud

Your seafood supplier can be your best friend when it comes to identifying seafood species and avoiding fraud. Mark Palicki, VP of marketing for Fortune Fish out of Bensonville, Illinois, shares tips on labeling, traceability and smart buying strategies.

Q. How can operators be sure that the fish species they ordered is the one being delivered?
A. Very specific information should be listed on the order form. Instead of saying “grouper,” it should say “red grouper;” instead of “snapper,” “American red snapper.” A reputable supplier provides very detailed invoices, including country of origin and whether the fish has been previously frozen. Retail customers may even get the scientific name on their order forms. And every box should be printed with a bar code traceable to the vendor.

Q. What can operators do on their end?
A. Be flexible. Instead of specifically asking for red snapper or halibut, work with the supplier’s sales staff to zero in on the best values—usually what’s most plentiful and available. The top seafood suppliers employ ex-chefs as sales people and they can steer an operator to a comparable species that will make a good substitution on the menu.

Q. Is frozen fish a viable choice?
A. Most restaurants specify fresh fish only, and that’s one of the reasons mislabeling is more rampant. There just isn’t enough fresh seafood to meet demand. Frozen fish can be a really good product and better value. We buy fish that’s frozen whole with its skin and bones—but no head or tail. Halibut, black cod and Pacific cod are some examples; these can be cut and portioned to meet a restaurant’s specs.

Q. What about farmed fish?
A. The aquaculture industry is doing a much more sustainable job of raising farmed fish, especially shellfish. Seek out vendors who vet their fish farms. We buy from those that are honest, upfront and share the most information about environmental impact, feed, etc. We also encourage operators to do their own research.

Today's top stories

1
Iced tea has become an American beverage staple, with 84% of restaurants offering it as a menu option. With this prevalence in the foodservice industry, are there still opportunities for growth and...
2
Fast-casual chain PizzaRev has been acquired by a venture capital firm helmed by a former McDonald’s CEO. Chicago-based Cleveland Avenue now owns a majority stake in the fast-casual brand, which has...
3
This year's NRA Show® was full of on-trend food, inspiring speakers and business-building education sessions—and it’s clear that operators couldn’t get enough. “We’re in our third year of record-...
4
Mike Greenberg, host of Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio and ESPN2, talked with Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs Executive Chairman, about leadership and how the Chicago Cubs overcame obstacles to win baseball’...
5
Technology products and solutions that help to streamline business models, such as POS systems, inventory management and real-time scheduling, were just a few of the hot topics discussed during this...
6
Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association President and CEO, opened Sunday afternoon’s Signature ’17 session, presented by American Express and supporting sponsor United Healthcare, by discussing...
7
The National Restaurant Association’s research experts will share the latest data and analysis to help you navigate headwinds and leverage tailwinds at 12 p.m. Monday, May 22 in the can’t-miss...
8
The National Restaurant Association revealed a major new initiative Sunday to attract, train and retain talent for the restaurant industry, an effort that includes a partnership with the U.S...
9
NRA Show 2017 attendees can engage with all things technology at the new Innovation Hub, located in the North Hall at Booth #5575. The hub includes five distinctive areas: Innovation Theater, Social...
10
Wolfgang Puck , the multiconcept entrepreneur who taught fellow fine-dining chefs to loosen up and embrace a celebrity status akin to the showbiz stardom of his customers, was named the 2017...