CHECK THE LABEL
First and foremost is to understand how your caviar is labeled. The most common flag to look out for is anything that says “Russian Osetra” or “Russian Imperial”. In most cases, “Russian” refers to the species, not the country of origin. Caviar from the Caspian Sea and all Russian Osetra Caviar – in fact ANY wild caviar export – has been closed to harvest for years by CITES (Convention for Trade in Endangered Species).
Anytime you see the word “Caspian” on the label you need to be wary of what is inside. “Caspian” refers sturgeon caught in the Caspian Sea that primarily borders Russia and Iran and remains closed to the export of ANY caviar. U.S. Fish and Wildlife monitors all caviar imported from outside the United States, and only purveyors with a CITES permit that assures the origin and species of the sturgeon are legitimate.