Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service


West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is warning fish sellers, caterers and members of the public to be aware of potentially serious consequences of consuming a type of fish, Escolar, which is sometimes being misdescribed as Sea Bass Steaks.

The Food Standards Agency has published a Food Hazard Warning following reports to them that a tropical, deep-sea fish, known as Escolar, has been sold throughout the UK to fish wholesalers and caterers as Sea Bass Steaks. The Escolar is a completely different fish to Sea Bass and has unusually high oil content, which can cause stomach upsets and diarrhoea, particularly in the elderly and those with an existing bowel condition. Escolar can grow to 2 metres in length whereas Sea Bass is much smaller and is not a fish normally cut into steaks. Sea Bass is usually sold complete or as fillets and is a more expensive fish than Escolar, which can be sold legally, but must be described as such under Fish Labelling Regulations.

Martin Wood, Chief Officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services said:
“Importers of Escolar have been approached by officers and warned about the misdescription, but frozen packs of the misdescribed fish could still be in the hands of fish sellers and restaurants, who have purchased it in good faith. Trading Standards Officers in West Yorkshire will be visiting local fish importers and wholesalers and looking out for the misdescribed fish in markets and restaurants.”

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee added:
“We are aware that some people have become ill after eating Escolar. The fish is not banned, but we need to ensure it is correctly described and to let the public know that it can cause health problems. If anyone has any concerns they should contact the Consumer Helpline on 0113 3848848.”

For further information contact:

Graham Hebblethwaite - Divisional Manager Tel: 0113 2898218
Steven Kaye - Principal Trading Standards Officer Tel: 0113 2898229
Andrew Bibby - Principal Trading Standards Officer Tel: 0113 2898237
Carol Hallett - General Media Contact Tel: 0113 2898284
Food Standards Agency: