Detecting fish fraud with real-time PCR
If you have ever bought frozen fish in a supermarket, you know the situation: The package says “tuna” or “Skipjack tuna” and then there is also a Latin scientific name. But what is it about? What is the difference between these fishes? Well, the EU regulation 1379/2013 demands for good reason to label fish products with the scientific name and with the local trade name, e.g. in Germany you can order “Skrei” or “Dorsch” or “Kabeljau” which is all the
same fish: “cod” or “Gadus morhua”. But it is different from “atlantic cod” or
“Gadus macrocephalus”. Even though most people might not know the little differences between fish species, the prices can show high variation. To ensure that consumers get the fish they have paid for, testing is important. To identify fish species from processed products as fillets or fillet pieces, sequencing is used as an untargeted universal method, but it requires a dedicated laboratory, qualified personnel and the use of a database. For fish species identification within the
industry process, where employees already have an idea of which fish is catched and
supplied, real-time PCR is the method of choice. SureFood® analytical test kits run on all common qPCR thermocyclers and allow quick and easy analysis for non-molecular biologists within 2 hours time to result. So far, a range of 15 detection kits is available for the most relevant fish species. Food fraud and fish adulteration – a topic
of increasing interest. To protect consumers, it’s good to have the right tools on hand.