The addition or exchange of cheaper fish species instead of more expensive fish species is a known form of fraud in the food industry. This can take place accidentally due to the lack of expertise or actively as fraud.
Generally speaking, this form of fraud is not a problem in terms of food safety but quality. Incorrect labeling (e.g. frozen fillets) is undesired by consumers and industrial processors and results in increased costs.
For reasons of transparency for consumers, it is mandatory to label fish species with the trade name (in the respective national language) as well as the scientific name. This is defined in the EU Directive No. 1379/2013, chapter IV, article 35. Furthermore, there is the labeling requirement with regard to fishing zones, form of fishing and processing. Identifying fish, especially fillets and intermediate products, proves difficult due to the similarity of the tissue and the vast number of fish species, as well as the various common names. In order to examine the authenticity of the species information, real-time PCR is the method of choice (in addition to complex sequencing).
The SureFood® Fish ID product line is the widest available portfolio of qPCR test kits for identifying fish species and covers different commercially popular fish species:
- Salmon, red salmon, king salmon, humped salmon, atlantic salmon
- Trout, rainbow trout
- Codfish, cod, pollack
- Hake, whiting
The fish species is determined in the FAM detection channel, while in the VIC/HEX channel, an IAAC (internal amplification and animal control) is used both as an amplification control and an extraction control. Consequently, this kit—in each case with 50 reactions—can be used on all conventional real-time PCR equipment. The SureFood® PREP Basic kit (item no. S1052) is recommended for preparing DNA.