Don't Fall for Fake Grouper

Jeff Stilwell sells a lot of fish that isn’t grouper. He just believes you ought not to call it something it isn’t.

Jeff Stilwell, a restaurant owner, said, “I say promote the fish and tell ‘em it’s as good as a grouper sandwich.”

Florida Attorney General and soon-to-be Gov. Charlie Crist agrees. He has issued subpoenas to 16 restaurants.

“We will utilize DNA in order to test the fish we subpoena to make sure that they are or are not grouper, and if they’re not then it’s probably a violation of Florida 501 statute, which is unfair trade and deceptive practice,” Crist said.

On a single plate, cobia, grouper, pollack and haddock all appear similar. They taste slightly different, but they're close enough to be confusing. The reality is, when you’re ordering grouper you may only be getting it about half the time.

The Florida fisting industry likes the crackdown.

Bob Jones says cheap substitutions are hurting those trying to make an honest living.

Bob Jones of the Southeastern Fisheries Association said, "People don’t want to put on the menu that they’re selling (fish) from Vietnam. They want to say, ‘you’re getting a great piece of Florida grouper.’ It’s not true in 50 percent of the cases."

And as for what’s on your plate, if the price for grouper is too good to be true, Jeff Stilwell says it probably isn’t grouper.


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