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Community engagement in seafood identification using DNA barcoding reveals market substitution in Canadian seafood

Amanda Madelaine Naaum / Robert Hanner
Published Online: 2015-11-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dna-2015-0009


Seafood authenticity is a global concern. As seafood consumption increases, so does public awareness of the associated nutritional and environmental issues related to seafood mislabeling. Cases of substitution continue to be observed, even after the adoption of DNA barcoding as a regulatory tool by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States in 2011. Although media coverage of these cases has highlighted the incidence of fraud in Canada, more in-depth engagement of the public is lacking. By partnering with community members to conduct research, knowledge about the incidence and impact of seafood mislabeling can be directly communicated to consumers. In this study high school students and educators participated in a market survey using DNA barcoding to identify seafood. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fish List was used to determine if mislabeling had occurred. Twenty-three percent of samples surveyed were mislabeled, suggesting that the incidence of retail seafood mislabeling continues to be significant in Canada. Continued involvement of the public in market surveys will help to monitor trends in seafood mislabeling, and may help to increase awareness of potential seafood fraud.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: DNA barcoding; seafood identification; market survey; food fraud; citizen science


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About the article

Received: 2014-06-18

Accepted: 2015-01-15

Published Online: 2015-11-26

Published in Print: 2015-01-01

Citation Information: DNA Barcodes, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 74–79, ISSN (Online) 2299-1077, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dna-2015-0009.

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© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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