Once considered the high-powered luxury food of Wall Street bankers and those with the good fortune to take regular trips to Tokyo, sushi has become a favorite food of the masses in cities across the U.S. But before you belly up to the counter (or sushi conveyor belt), you might want to keep in mind that the fish you see in your roll might not be the one on the menu.
A study this year by nonprofit ocean conservation group Oceana found that on average, one-third of all fish across the nation are mislabeled. In major metro areas, the practice is even more prevalent: In Northern California, 38% of fish were mislabeled, while in New York City the figure was 39%, and more than 50% of samples in Southern California were masquerading as other fish, according to the group.
In order to combat this problem, one San Diego sushi chef has added QR codes to plates for his diners. The chef puts edible paper with the QR codes on top of each piece of fish. Diners can then scan them with their smartphones, and the fish’s information, including sustainability levels and natural habits, pops up.
The restaurant, Harney Sushi, tested out its first QR code in April, which linked to the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and is now working on generating QR codes for specific species of fish. Those new codes will not only link to information about the species itself, but also give information on where the fish was caught and who caught it.