Fish Market Survey Results

Project Overview

In this project, we use DNA barcoding to identify the species of fish purchased at the grocery store or fish market to determine if the fish is correctly labelled.

Students across Canada 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 are placed into vials and shipped to the University of Guelph, where the DNA is extracted, amplified using Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR) and DNA barcoded.

Why does fish labelling matter?

For people
  • Eating mislabelled fish may mean you are unknowingly being exposed to toxins and allergens.
  • If a less expensive type of fish is substituted for the fish you thought you were buying, you may be paying more than you should for your fish – that's fraud!
For the environment
  • Fish may not be harvested in a sustainable manner.
  • Fish populations, including species at risk, may be negatively impacted

Want to participate?

Learn more about the project and register to participate in our next data collection period.

Learn more

What did we find out?

Spring 2019

Results coming soon!


Fall 2018

We learned that of the 54 sequenced fish samples, 8 were in fact mislabelled.

5.5 % (3 samples) were labelled with names that aren’t supposed to be used in Canada based on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fish List, while 9.3 % (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 15% of the fish samples had labelling errors of some kind!


Spring 2018

We learned that of the 45 sequenced fish samples, 4 were possibly mislabelled.

9 % (4 samples) were labelled with names that aren’t supposed to be used in Canada based on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Fish List, while 0 % (0 samples) were incorrectly labelled fish.

That means that overall, approximately 9% of the fish samples had labelling errors of some kind!


Fall 2017

We learned that of the 223 sequenced fish samples, 43 were in fact mislabelled.

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 labelling errors of some kind.



Spring 2017

We learned that of the 197 sequenced fish samples, 26 were in fact mislabelled.

8 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, while 18 samples were actually incorrectly labelled fish. These fish were sold under the wrong name either accidentally or on purpose.

That means that overall approximately 13% of the fish samples collected had labelling errors of some kind.



Fall 2016

We learned that of the 207 sequenced fish samples, 43 were in fact mislabelled.

25 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, while 18 samples were actually incorrectly labelled fish. These fish were sold under the wrong name either accidentally or on purpose.

That means that overall approximately 20% of the fish samples collected had labelling errors of some kind.






Partners

We at Let’s Talk Science would like to thank LifeScanner and the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics who helped make this project possible.

Some of the scientists we are working with include:

Photo - Bob Hanner

Bob Hanner
Associate Professor, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph

Career Profile

Photo - Dirk Steinke

Dirk Steinke
Director of Education & Outreach, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, University of Guelph

Career Profile

Let’s Talk Science is partnering with the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, Ontario and the Marine Stewardship Council to provide free DNA sample collection kits to senior high school classes across Canada.

Center for Biodiversity Genomics Certified Sustainable Seafood

References

Lowell, B., Mustain, P., Ortenzi, K., & Warner, K. (2015). One Name, One Fish: Why Seafood Names Matter. Oceana.

Marine Stewardship Council. (2019). From Ocean to Plate.

Naaum, A., & Hanner, R. (2016). Seafood authenticity and traceability: A DNA-Based Perspective. London: Elsiver.

SeaChoice. (2019). Labelling and Traceability.

Education Services / L’équipe des services d’éducation

This content is provided through Let's Talk Science's Education Services team.


Ce contenu est fourni par l'équipe des services d'éducation de Parlons sciences.