Fittest loser
Article updated: 4/8/2013 3:53 PM

Addison seafood company admits mislabeling

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By Daily Herald report

The owner of an Addison-based seafood distributor has agreed to resolve civil and criminal charges stemming from the mislabeling of fish and overstating the weight of shrimp.

Patrick A. Bruno, president of Gourmet Express Marketing, Inc., was accused of labeling cheap fish as a more expensive variety and adding an "ice glaze" to shrimp to add to the weight of the product, according to federal prosecutors.

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The 71-year-old Addison resident has agreed to hire an independent expert at the company's expense to ensure future compliance or face daily fines of $5,000 to $10,000, according to court records.

Federal prosecutors said Bruno's company labeled catfish as "swai," perch as "red snapper" or "Pacific snapper" between 2007 and 2010. U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors tested samples of fish to determine the legitimacy of the labels as well as the weight of shrimp the company packaged. Packages of shrimp were advertised as containing 14.4 percent to 21.5 percent more shrimp than what was actually inside because of an added ice glaze.

The mislabeling of the fish did not result in any known illnesses or danger to public health. Bruno faces misdemeanor charges for mislabeling the fish. His attorney told prosecutors he will plead guilty. He could receive a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, prosecutors said.

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