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US restaurants plan DNA-certified premium seafood

ROD McGUIRK AP 11/28/2011 23:10
US restaurants plan DNA-certified premium seafood - food - lifestyle - USA


Restaurants around the world will soon use new DNA technology to assure patrons they are being served the genuine fish fillet or caviar they ordered, rather than inferior substitutes, an expert in genetic identification says.



In October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially approved so-called DNA barcoding - a standardized fingerprint that can identify a species like a supermarket scanner reads a barcode - to prevent the mislabeling of both locally produced and imported seafood in the United States. Other national regulators around the world are also considering adopting DNA barcoding as a fast, reliable and cost-effective tool for identifying organic matter.

David Schindel, a Smithsonian Institution paleontologist and executive secretary of the Washington-based Consortium for the Barcode of Life, said he has started discussions with the restaurant industry and seafood suppliers about utilizing the technology as a means of certifying the authenticity of delicacies.

"When they sell something that's really expensive, they want the consumer to believe that they're getting what they're paying for," Schindel told The Associated Press.

"We're going to start seeing a self-regulating movement by the high-end trade embracing barcoding as a mark of quality," he said.

While it would never be economically viable to DNA test every fish, it would be possible to test a sample of several fish from a trawler load, he said.


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