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Putting fish DNA to the test

Putting fish DNA to the test – Transcript

Narrator: Did you know mislabelling or substituting fish species is a type of food fraud? In fact, fish is one of the most commonly reported misrepresented foods worldwide.

If an expensive species is replaced with a cheaper fish without telling retailers or the public, it not only deceives consumers—it can damage the industry's reputation and hurt honest businesses that deliver fish and seafood products to the marketplace.

So what's the CFIA doing to tackle this important issue?

One activity is sampling food products that are considered high-risk, like fish, and testing them for authenticity.

For example, from April 2020 to March 2021, we collected fish samples from across the country and tested their DNA to make sure they weren't mislabelled.

We focused on nine fish species that are common targets for substitution:

On-screen text: butterfish, cod, halibut, kingfish, sea bass, snapper (red and other), sole, tuna and yellowtail

Our scientists compared the DNA from the samples against the DNA barcode sequences for known fish species.

The results found that less than 9% of the samples tested didn't match. In those cases, the CFIA took action to protect consumers, including removing mislabelled products from the marketplace.

Fish is just one example of the sampling and testing we do at the CFIA. We test all sorts of foods to make sure they are truthfully represented and safe to eat.

On-screen text: We all have a role to play

We also work with industry and other stakeholders to protect you from food misrepresentation and fraud.

We all have a role to play.

Visit our website to find sampling and testing reports and to learn how you can help tackle food fraud.

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