Twenty-five per cent of seafood sold in Metro Vancouver is mislabelled | 6/19/2018 | Staff
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A quarter of the seafood tested from Metro Vancouver grocery stores, restaurants and sushi bars is not what you think it is.

A new UBC study used DNA barcoding to determine that 70 of 281 seafood samples collected in Metro Vancouver between September 2017 and February 2018 were mislabelled.

Researchers - UBC - Lu - Food - Safety

Researchers from UBC's Lu Food Safety & Health Engineering Lab conducted the study in partnership with independent charity Oceana Canada and the Hanner Lab at the University of Guelph.

"We aim to comprehensively understand the fraudulent labelling of fish products sold in Metro Vancouver, as the first step in studying the complicated seafood supply chain that serves the west coast of Canada," said Xiaonan Lu, who leads the Lu lab. "Our study demonstrates the importance of improving both the regulation of seafood labelling, and the transparency of the fish supply chain."

Supply - Chain - Seafood - Opaque - Fish

The supply chain for seafood is complex and opaque. A fish can be caught in Canada, gutted in China, breaded in the U.S., and ultimately sold back to Canada as an American product. Misidentification can happen anywhere along the way. When it's intentional, it's food fraud—a $52-billion worldwide problem defined as the misrepresentation of food for economic gain.

"Seafood fraud cheats Canadian consumers and hurts local, honest fishers as well as chefs and seafood companies looking to buy sustainable seafood. It causes health concerns and masks global human rights abuses by creating a market for illegally caught fish," said Julia Levin, seafood fraud campaigner with Oceana Canada. "The key to fighting seafood fraud is boat-to-plate traceability. This means tracking the seafood product through the supply chain and requiring that key information travels with the product."

UBC - Team - Oceana - Canada - Samples

The UBC team and Oceana Canada gathered samples from sellers in Vancouver, Richmond, Coquitlam, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Surrey and Langley. The Lu lab analyzed UBC's samples, while Oceana Canada's...
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