A Crabby Scam – Company Accused Of Diluting Chesapeake Blue Crab Meat With Imported Crab

Source: The Washington Post/Justin Jouvenal

Photo: Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons 

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Few things say local like the Chesapeake blue crab.

It has scuttled its way into Maryland’s tourism slogan and is part of the region’s signature dish, proudly touted on menus and in markets as a taste of the Bay in an era when “eat local” has become the mantra of foodies.

But a few years ago, a tipster reached out to authorities with an unsavory allegation: A major Virginia seafood supplier was selling packages of premium Chesapeake blue crab meat cut with cheaper foreign crab. It wasn’t even the same species.

In an unusual probe, federal agents fanned out to markets across Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina, scooping up crab meat from Casey’s Seafood and sending it out for the type of DNA analysis more common in rape and murder cases.

The results would reveal the tip of what authorities say is a massive fraud worth millions of dollars, one so large it has shaken the food industry and raised questions about just how much of the iconic food labeled as local comes from the Chesapeake Bay.

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Photo: Jarek Tuszyński/Wikimedia Commons

To view the Creative Commons license for the image, click here.