What did we find out?
In this project, DNA barcoding was used to identify species of fish purchased at grocery stores and fish markets to determine if the fish were correctly labelled.
Did you know? A market survey is a process that can be used to determine if species of plants or animals are identified incorrectly in a food product.
In the autumn of 2017, students across Canada were asked to collect samples of cod, swordfish, Sockeye and King Salmon, Snapper and Red snapper, as well as Alaskan and Pacific Halibut. Small tissue samples of the fish were placed into vials and shipped to the University of Guelph, where the fish DNA was extracted, amplified using Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR) and DNA barcoded.
Once the results were in, we learned that of the 223 sequenced fish samples, 38 of the samples were labelled with names that aren’t supposed to be used in Canada based on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fish List and 5 samples were actually incorrectly labelled fish. These fish were sold under the wrong name either accidentally or on purpose. That means that overall approximately 19% of the fish samples collected had labeling errors of some kind.
Let's Talk Science Action Project - Fish Market Survey Results [.pdf] or [.ppt]
Why does fish labelling matter? For people, eating mislabelled fish may mean that you may be unknowingly exposed to toxins and allergens. You may also be paying more than you should for your fish – that is fraud! As for the environment, fish populations, including species at risk, may be negatively impacted and fish may not be harvested in a sustainable manner.
We at CurioCity and Let’s Talk Science would like to say a big thank you to LifeScanner and the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics who helped make this project possible.
To participate in the Spring 2018 Fish Market Survey Action Project, sign up now https://explorecuriocity.org/Explore/ArticleId/4319/fish-market-survey.aspx - spaces are limited!
2016 Fish Market Results