Restaurants mislabeling food: What you're being served might not be what you ordered

Foods commonly mislabeled by restaurants
Posted at 4:21 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 10:19:43-05

When you're in a restaurant and you order a dish, are you really getting what you paid for?

The State’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants conducts regular inspections of public food service and lodging establishments to assure compliance with all state sanitation and safety laws.

One of the things inspectors look for is misrepresenting and mislabeling of food on the menu.

WPTV has found that each year hundreds of restaurants are cited for these violations. In Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, state inspectors found more of these violations in the first two months of the year than in all of 2016.

So far there have been 21 cases of mislabeled food reported in Palm Beach County compared to 15 in 2016.

Among the most common foods that are mislabeled are: crab, lobster, tuna, red snapper and Kobe beef.

Instead of real crab they often served imitation. Often restaurants served a much cheaper fish than what was advertised on the menu.

They also include mislabeling of brand names and misrepresenting organic and kosher.

According to a report by the state, Johnny Longboats on Singer Island had snapper on the menu but served another fish.

"We have the product, we have the correct product," said manager at Johnny Longboats Kelsey Sverdahl. "The box that we get from our suppliers was mislabeled."

But that wasn't the only mislabeled food violation for the restaurant this year. They've also been given a warning after saying an item was kosher when it wasn't.

“That was a printing error on our menu," Sverdahl said. "But everything is rectified.”

You might not notice the difference between snapper and tilapia when you see it on your plate, but the snapper is three times more expensive. 


We mapped all restaurants that have been cited for mislabeling food since 2015.

Check out the interactive map.

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