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Tackling seafood fraud

Product Integrity Manager, Alison Roel, explains how DNA testing helps avoid seafood fraud.
Cod or pangasius?

Food fraud, simply put, is the selling of food products with a misleading label, description or promise.

Throughout history, dubious traders have looked to profit from substandard, less desirable or counterfeit products. From chalk in flour to horsemeat sold as beef – food fraud is as old as industrial food production itself. Tricks of the trade have included colouring vegetables with copper[i]; diluting milk with water[ii]; substituting herbs for other plants[iii]; and bulking up lamb curries with beef or chicken[iv].

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MSC inside story: Why you can trust MSC ecolabelled seafood

These days people are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from. DNA testing prove MSC labelled products come from a certified sustainable fishery.
DNA testing of fish samples at lab

Alison Roel is a product integrity manager in the MSC’s Standards team. She has been instrumental in the coordination of DNA testing on MSC labelled products.  In late 2013, Alison appeared in an episode of the National Geographic Wild documentary series Mission: Save the Ocean discussing her work. Here she talks about her experience and why traceability is important.

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