Hot tip: If a restaurant advertises “Maryland-style crab cakes,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be chowing down on actual Maryland crabs. (I presume that “Maryland-style” just translates to “with lots of Old Bay dumped on top.”) This isn’t just a local issue; plenty of people have pointed out that restaurants tend to mislabel the seafood they put on their menus. But if a new state bill passes, restaurants will have to be a bit more honest about what they’re selling.
The bill was introduced by Delegate Eric G. Luedtke, who was inspired by a similar law in Washington state. There, restaurants and markets are required to list the (correct!) species of any fish or shellfish for sale. The Maryland bill goes one further; it mandates that crabs be identified by the state (or country) they were sourced from. Furthermore, nothing could be called a “blue crab” unless it was, well, an actual blue crab.
Not only would the law help consumers know what they’re paying for, it would also help local fisherman, a spokeswoman from a Washington, DC conservation group told the Sun: “When ordering Maryland’s famous blue crabs, I want to be certain that I’m actually having crabs from Maryland that were caught in the Chesapeake Bay and that I am supporting local watermen.”
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