DBPR Doubles Fine for Food Violations
Department doubles fine for misrepresenting fish and seafood, other undisclosed food substitutions
May 29, 2007
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has increased the fine for any proven offense of food misrepresentation at a food service establishment. The fine increase, which raises the minimum fine from $250 to $500, is in response to findings of restaurants selling mislabeled fish products to consumers. It also brings DBPR’s enforcement in line with those of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Office of the Attorney General.
“I love grouper, so when I order grouper, I expect to eat grouper,” DBPR Secretary Holly Benson said. “Floridians ought to be able to trust restaurant owners, and these increased penalties will help us ensure that the food we eat is the food we ordered.”
This rule change comes at an important time as some products, especially certain fish and other seafood, has become more expensive.
“Our inspectors have found some instances of restaurants selling artificial crab as the real thing. They’ve also seen cases when a restaurant is advertising grouper but selling another fish, such as basa, instead,” said Director Bill Veach of DBPR’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants. “In addition to the violation of trust, there’s potential danger associated with substituting foods without the customer’s knowledge, so I am pleased to see this penalty increase.”
Every restaurant in Florida is inspected at least twice a year by DBPR’s team of inspectors. The mission of the Division of Hotels and Restaurants is to protect the health and safety of the public by providing the industry with quality inspections and fair regulation.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation guarantees professionals and businesses are licensed efficiently and regulated fairly, ensuring the health, safely and welfare of consumers.