Prof Discusses Seafood Mislabelling in International Media

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Prof. Rob HannerProf. Robert Hanner was interviewed about a new report by an ocean advocacy group claiming widespread the mislabelling of seafood in Canadian restaurants and stores.

The market study made international headlines on Aug. 28, with stories appearing on CTV NewsCBC News, NBC News and in the Globe and Mail, National PostToronto Star, Global News, Yahoo News and MSN.ca

Oceana Canada, the group that conducted the research found that nearly half of all seafood samples it tested were mislabelled. They used DNA-barcoding technology developed at U of G to determine the authenticity of the fish.

They used a combination of Lifescanner DNA testing kits, developed by U of G’s Sujeevan Ratnasingham, a computer scientist and associate director, informatics at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG), and sent seafood samples to Hanner’s commercial lab, TRU-ID to carry out DNA barcoding tests to determine the species of fish.

Read more about U of G’s effort to move DNA barcoding from the lab to real world

Hanner spoke to the media about how fish mislabelling can occur. He said seafood might be caught in Canadian waters, but sent to China for processing and then sold to the U.S. for breading and packaging, and then finally end up in Canada on a store shelf.

An earlier report by the Oceana’s global umbrella organization made headlines in 2013, when Hanner was commissioned to identify seafood found in restaurants and shops in the United States. At the time, it was the biggest-ever seafood fraud study and it’s global media coverage put U of G’s DNA barcoding technology on the map.

Hanner studies DNA barcoding, biodiversity and molecular authentication of foods. He is also the campaign coordinator for the Fish Barcode of Life (FISH-BOL) initiative, a global project that aims to assemble a standard reference sequence library for the molecular identification of all fishes.