Fishing leader welcomes cod scam prosecution –

Fishing leader welcomes cod scam prosecution Published:  14 September, 2009

A FISHING industry leader has welcomed the successful prosecution of a fish and chip owner who passed off Vietnamese catfish as cod.

Steve Norton, chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, said the industry had enough problems without this sort of deception and he hoped the prosecution would be a lessons to others.

The scams were highlighted by trading standards officers a few months ago after they carried out inspections at several fried fish shops in the Midlands area. Cod generally costs double the price of the Vietnamese variety, alternatively known as Pangasius or Basa. They found the practice was becoming more widespread.

At Kidderminster Court last week Baljit Singh Virdi, who runs a fish bar in Bromsgrove, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,300 after he pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety Act. A number of similar cases involving other fish shops are in the pipeline.

Steve Norton said: ‘Fish merchants who buy and sell cod have enough problems as it is without this sort of thing. I am sure there is nothing wrong with Vietnamese catfish, but it ought to be advertised and sold as that so the public can make up their own minds. If shops try to pass off one type of fish as another then it will eventually undermine the entire industry. We here at the coastal markets are glad the authorities are taking action.’

The National Federation of Fish Friers is also angry that its reputation is being tarnished.