Grouper Scandal

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the ancient mariner
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2006/08/10 15:21:11 (permalink)

Grouper Scandal

The front page story in the St Petersburg Times ---

Headline------The Grouber Catch

"It is getting harder to get the gulf's signature fish on your plate."
"That grouber sandwich you ordered? Well, it might not be."

"____survey of 11 restaurants featuring grouber showed that six served a cheaper fish instead. One Palm Harber restaurant charged $23 for "champagne braised black grouber" that actually was tilapia.

A Panama City seafood wholesaler imported frozen Asian catfish for
$1.52 a pound, then passed it off as grouber, which wholesaled at 4 times that much. ($6.14 actually).

The Times ordered grouber in 11 restaurants and had the meals DNA tested-----6 samples were fakes. They then listed the 11 restaurants, the price and what the fish actually was. Two---Crabby Bill's on the Beach and the Hurricane in Pass-a-Grille were the only local fresh grouber,

Something is mighty fishy here in the Sunshine State.
#1

48 Replies Related Threads

    ctrueder
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 15:23:29 (permalink)
    I KNEW it!

    Do you have a link to that story?

    GAWD, I hate crooked reataurants!
    #2
    seafarer john
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 16:40:54 (permalink)
    Thanks guys for that very informative article and chart on grouper. I've liked Harvey's wonderful hamburgers since we discovered it only last winter, so I'm pleased to learn that they serve the real thing for a grouper sandwich. We also like Crabby Bill's, but have never eaten grouper there- we like to load up on their cheap oysters and a couple of beers. The Hurricane is not far from where we stay, so we get to eat there now and then, also good to see they passed the test. La Terresita is a place to get a Cuban sandwich and other Cuban delicacies and I'd never think of ordering seafood there. I have to wonder about some of the little shacks along the beaches where we frequently order grouper sandwiches - usually winding up with a very nice piece of fish - I think I'd recognize catfish (which makes a very nice sandwich under its own name) , but I've no idea what tilapia and some of those others look and taste like- caveat emptor.

    Cheers, John
    #3
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 16:47:23 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by the ancient mariner

    The front page story in the St Petersburg Times ---

    Headline------The Grouber Catch

    "It is getting harder to get the gulf's signature fish on your plate."
    "That grouber sandwich you ordered? Well, it might not be."

    "____survey of 11 restaurants featuring grouber showed that six served a cheaper fish instead. One Palm Harber restaurant charged $23 for "champagne braised black grouber" that actually was tilapia.

    A Panama City seafood wholesaler imported frozen Asian catfish for
    $1.52 a pound, then passed it off as grouber, which wholesaled at 4 times that much. ($6.14 actually).

    is grouper also spelled "grouber" ?
    #4
    Jimeats
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 16:48:37 (permalink)
    There was a related article a couple of days ago about the same problem. It appears that it isn't the restaraunt owner, but the wholesaler , middlemen and in some cases the fishermen themselves. Product arrives at its destination marked grouper when in fact it is something different. This is a pratice that has gone on for years in the industry, with all types of fish and shellfish. The industry has no USDA inspections so it is open to all kinds of corruption. Don't blame it on the owners, the vast majority of them are breaking their butts to give us the best product avalible. Chow Jim
    #5
    roadrash
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:04:12 (permalink)
    Similar to this, I have heard from many folks (some in the seafood industry, some not) that much of the product marketed as "sea scallops" is, in fact, meat cut from the "wing" portion of the common skate/sea ray. I do not know if this is true, but I have heard it from numerous different people. I'd be interested in learning if anyone has specifics about this.
    #6
    the ancient mariner
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:12:20 (permalink)
    Brother Jackson, it would appear that you have caught a grave error in the spelling of the name of the fish grouber. It is obvious that the inhabitants of Florida do not no how to spell the name of their favorite fish---they have been using the word grouper. Us guys from NY, who are used to real fish like Cod, Flounder, Fluke and Haddock have not got around to calling grouber grouper yet.

    Thanks for the correction TJ, I will go sit in the corner with the dunce cap on. And I was reading it right out of the newspaper. Mea culpa, mea culpa !!!!
    #7
    TJ Jackson
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:19:03 (permalink)
    err....so there is a fish called a grouber?

    (question is serious...I have no idea....seriously.....I don't know much about fish, but I've heard of a grouper but have never heard of a grouber)
    #8
    Pigiron
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:24:52 (permalink)
    There was an investigative story in NY a few years back regarding restaurants swapping out veal for cheaper meats. It seemed that a large pecentage of veal dishes they tested turned out to be pork. I have also heard that scallops are replaced with circular cuts of cheaper fish, and there's the whole "wild vs. farmed" salmon scandal. Just seems to me that anytime someone has the opportunity to screw the customer in order to make a few bucks, they will.
    #9
    xannie_01
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:29:35 (permalink)
    thanks pigiron,
    i was going through the nytimes to find that very article. it said that monkfish was being sold as scallops.
    #10
    Tedbear
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 17:48:39 (permalink)
    Can we assume that this is the same fish that is frequently referred to on Chinese restaurant menus as Garoupa (sic)?
    #11
    Rayme
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 18:30:26 (permalink)
    I love grouper but these days I don't order it because groupers are overfished in a serious way; the fishery is in big trouble. It's hard to get local grouper.

    #12
    Greymo
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 19:22:43 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by TJ Jackson

    err....so there is a fish called a grouber?

    (question is serious...I have no idea....seriously.....I don't know much about fish, but I've heard of a grouper but have never heard of a grouber)


    I think that it was just a spelling error.
    #13
    seafarer john
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 22:21:07 (permalink)
    I guess some innocent folks who are eating what they think is sea scallops for the first time might be fooled by some other kind of fish. But, once having tasted and felt the texture of a real scallop it would be difficult to fool even the most indifferent eater. I really doubt that skate wings and monkfish are successfully
    passed off as sea scallops - therefore, I think it is just one of those urban legends.

    Cheers, John
    #14
    Jim Ross
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 23:46:06 (permalink)
    On the chart it shows that 4 out of the 11 restuarants were actually selling fresh local grouper and 1 of the 4 is Red Lobster
    #15
    ann peeples
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/10 23:48:36 (permalink)
    My husband was watching one of those investigative shows on Tv a couple months back, and they did a segment on the fact that skate is being passed off as sea scallops.They tested both restaurants and grocery stores.So I really do not believe it is an urban legend...
    #16
    CCJPO
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 06:14:45 (permalink)
    I have always believed that Pompano is best Florida fish. I quess, as is everything it is a personal choice.
    #17
    Jimeats
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 07:56:51 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by seafarer john

    I guess some innocent folks who are eating what they think is sea scallops for the first time might be fooled by some other kind of fish. But, once having tasted and felt the texture of a real scallop it would be difficult to fool even the most indifferent eater. I really doubt that skate wings and monkfish are successfully
    passed off as sea scallops - therefore, I think it is just one of those urban legends.

    Cheers, John
    No unfortunatley it's not an urban myth. On the fish piers here, at the supply area where they sold knives,hooks, rubber aprons gloves,boots and what have you they also sold punches for skate wings and cod and shark cheeks. The whole industry as a rule has long been open to all kinds of unscrupulous acts. Unless you have a keen eye and a knowlege of the business it's very hard to tell. Chow Jim
    #18
    doggydaddy
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 10:25:57 (permalink)


    So where does Scrod come from? We all know about Cod, but up here in New England many places feature Scrod.
    Snapper also falls into the falsified fish category and other ones are used to substitute for that.
    Sea Scallops have a connective muscle on the side and that is one way to identify them. A good restaurant usually removes it, but they wouldn't use anything but the real McCoy to begin with. I have never seen the muscle on Bay Scallops, so who knows?

    On the other hand, I got really P.O.ed the other day when I ordered Lobster Lo Mien as a to-go order and when I arrived home discovered that it was Langostino.

    Jimeats wrote: ---There was a related article a couple of days ago about the same problem. It appears that it isn't the restaurant owner, but the wholesaler , middlemen and in some cases the fishermen themselves. Product arrives at its destination marked grouper when in fact it is something different. This is a practice that has gone on for years in the industry, with all types of fish and shellfish. The industry has no USDA inspections so it is open to all kinds of corruption. Don't blame it on the owners, the vast majority of them are breaking their butts to give us the best product available.----

    I agree and I think you hit the nail on the head.
    On thing that I have seen happening is the practice of getting frozen, individual portions of cryovac wrapped fish and then passing it off as fresh. I have even used mussels packed this way. It seems like it has been so long since I have actually had to fillet a salmon or cut swordfish or tuna steaks. It is there that I do fault the owners for not providing the real thing.
    Mock crab(surimi)is also very popular as a substitute when they think they can get away with it. I call it mechanical crab. Those seafood stuffed mushrooms? Yeah right...don't believe it.

    mark

    #19
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 10:31:49 (permalink)
    There's no such fish as scrod or schrod. It's a made-up word for any white-fleshed saltwater fish. Usually it's used for smaller fish, but not always.
    #20
    ctrueder
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 11:37:39 (permalink)
    Outstanding lesson on "scrod"!

    Straight from the website: http://www.scrod.net/scrod.html

    Google is a wonderful way to keep people occupied! [|)]
    #21
    Coastal Southern
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 11:51:27 (permalink)
    Although this is something that we have all thought about and feared, it is disturbing to hear confirmation of the same. I am quickly loosing faith in the supply market for fresh seafood. My personal menu is almost exclusively limited to something that i have caught and harvested myself, or when i am lucky enough to be on the dock when fresh catch is coming in and the captain is feeling generous. That is the only way to ensure you are getting what you want to be eating. I know this limits the consumption of fresh seafood and this is the tragedy of the situation. Something i love so much is becoming more and more tainted.

    On the other hand i am blessed to have a few great local restaurants that are family owned and operated that i can trust, but i imagine i am becoming the minority in that regard.

    It really says a lot about strictly committing to seasonal and local.
    #22
    Fred Ferris
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 11:51:36 (permalink)
    This happens with Rock Shrimp quite a bit too...I know exectly what it looks/tastes like, and I'm constantly disappointed in places that tout it on their menu, only to serve something completely different..
    #23
    seafarer john
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 11:54:43 (permalink)
    According to my CIA Dictionary of Food and Wine, Scrod is a Cod or Haddock under 3 lbs. But it's easy to see how that could convienently be applied to just about any small saltwater fish if the fishmonger chooses to do so.

    As to recognizing scallops or their fakes - it's easy. A Scallop has a piece of connective tissue on the side, and is solid in its consistency - no layers, no flakes.-, and most of all, it has a definite flavor unlike any other fish or shellfish.


    Those punches you saw at the chandler's shop are used to punch holes in canvas and leather to accept a fitted- in gromet, and to punch bolt holes in gaskets . Not to say they could not be used to punch out circles of some flatish fish if one were inclined to do so. Investigative TV story or not, I still say the punched out skate wing substitute for scallops is an urban legend.

    Cheers, John

    #24
    mayor al
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 15:51:36 (permalink)
    Please take your personal disputes to email. Flaming attacks will not be tolerated on the boards.
    #25
    Tony Bad
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 16:20:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by ctrueder

    P.S. Would it be asking too much that we return to the original thread?




    Many should print out this quote and read it before pushing that "submit reply" button! It would save us all a lot of watsted reading
    #26
    xannie_01
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 16:26:07 (permalink)
    well, i couldn't find that article, so i cede to seafarer john.
    (don't you hate it when you read something and can't
    remember where? early senility)

    dayle
    #27
    Greymo
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 16:28:44 (permalink)
    Dear Doctor,

    I have been reading this forum with great interest as I was first introduced to scrod at a seafood restaurant on my first trip to the ocean along the Mass. coast (years ago). I saw scrod on the menu and could not believe that I had never heard of this fish. I asked the waitress and she told me that it was a name for small white fish that were nice and fresh that the restaurant had been supplied that day.

    I was new to liking fish at that time and opted for fried whole belly clams (the first time I had them). I loved them and was so glad that I ordered them. However since that day, I have had scrod at many seafood restaurants and have found it very good.

    The only reason that I entered this discussion at all is because I know that the waitress in that restaurant knew what she was talking about and I am sure many other posters do too.

    Thank you for your kind wishes. I am having and will continue to have a great day in spite of my advancing age, but wonderful memory.

    OOPS see that you have deleted your post directed to me but I will leave this on for your information!
    #28
    RibRater
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 16:50:04 (permalink)
    A chef's recipe for fake scallops?


    http://www.restauranteur.com/pistocom/askthechef/2005sept21.htm


    #29
    seafarer john
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    RE: Grouper Scandal 2006/08/11 22:10:22 (permalink)
    Chef Pisto has an interesting recipe, but tellingly, he does not claim they are scallops - he says they are fake scallops. I stand by my belief that passing off punched out skate wings as scallops is an urban legend.

    And, I'm going to ask my fish monger to get me some skate so I can try it for myself to learn what it tastes like - i think I'll like it - I hope I'll like it...

    Cheers, John
    #30
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