JRC scientists developed a novel method to identify fish species present in processed food. This method is complementary to existing fish identification strategies and will support the prevention of frauds.
Fish species identification is traditionally based on morphological features but this may be difficult or even impossible in case of processed products or in cod species, which are usually highly similar.
Gadoids (Cod) are a group of fish with historical importance to the fishing industry. The high demand for cod is one of the reasons why cod products are often mislabelled, and numerous incidents have been reported on the replacement of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) by cheaper species.
However, traditional fish identification methods may be difficult to use in case of highly processed products such as fish fingers.
JRC scientists applied a bioinformatics driven approach to identify novel regions in the genome of fish that can be used as informative "markers" specific to each species. These markers were analysed by Next Generation Sequencing, a technology able to sequence hundreds of thousands DNA fragments in parallel.
The proposed DNA-based method was proven capable of identifying the cod fish species in test samples, irrespective whether the fish sample was raw, frozen, salted, cooked, or even mixed with other fish species.
This method is complementary to existing fish identification strategies in establishing an efficient framework to detect and prevent frauds along the fish value chain, as well as in managing fisheries and conservation strategies.
Read more in: V. Paracchini et al. " Nuclear DNA barcodes for cod identification in mildly-treated and processed food products", Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 36:1, 1-14, DOI: 10.1080/19440049.2018.1556402
- Publication date
- 6 March 2019