Home NewsAustralia Fight against seafood fraud has another gadget in its arsenal

Fight against seafood fraud has another gadget in its arsenal

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A transportable, handheld scanner that detects the provenance of seafood is the business’s newest instrument within the struggle towards fraudulent labelling. 

The scanner, trialled by the Australian Nuclear Science and Know-how Organisation (ANSTO), has been proven to be as much as 90-per-cent correct in figuring out the origin of tiger prawns. 

Initially developed for analysing rocks in geological surveys, ANSTO has repurposed and calibrated the know-how to work on seafood.

“We are able to ask the mannequin, ‘is it Australian or non-Australian?’ We are able to ask ‘whether it is Australian, the place it comes from’?” stated principal scientist Debashish Mazumder.

Dr Mazumder stated the mannequin was additionally in a position to confirm whether or not a product was farmed in Australia or wild-caught.

“Customers are largely to know whether or not [a product] is Australian or not, as a result of Australian premium merchandise have a popularity,” he stated.

A woman holds a prawn in front of Christmas decorations.
The monitoring system can detect whether or not a product is Australian farmed or wild-caught.(Pexels: Elle Hughes)

Fraudulent labelling prices business thousands and thousands

A 2018 report into the authenticity of seafood estimated that fraud — which includes the substitution of premium produce with a lower-quality or cheaper product — prices Australian exporters $189 million yearly.

Spencer Gulf and West Coast Fishermen’s Affiliation chief govt Kelly Pyke-Tape stated having the ability to scientifically confirm produce may deter companies from falsely claiming to be promoting Australian prawns, which diluted its worth.

“Our business is reliant on client behaviour, so if traceability know-how can guarantee clients of info which can be of worth to them in flip that makes our product extra precious to them.”

The scanner uses X-ray fluorescence technology, which analyses the composition of parts which can be distinctive — very similar to a fingerprint — to the place a product comes from.

Craig McCathie md Fresh Fish Place
Mr McCathie has constructed a relationship along with his clients over his 40 years within the seafood business and is assured in his merchandise.(ABC Rural: Clint Jasper)

Craig McCathie is the managing director of the Contemporary Fish Place in Port Lincoln, a city on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula famend for its seafood.

Mr McCathie was a business fisher earlier than he moved into wholesale and has relied on his expertise and longstanding relationships with suppliers constructed over greater than 40 years to keep away from being duped.

“I do not cop it as a lot as a result of all these folks do not come to me anymore as a result of they know I do know my stuff,” he stated.

“However for somebody who hasn’t bought that information, who hasn’t bought that intensive expertise within the business, [the scanner] goes to be a really great tool for them.”

However the scanner is only one half of the know-how.

Big-eyed boarfish on display at a fish market next to snapper.
Presently, the database solely covers Australian merchandise.(ABC Information: David Claughton)

An in depth reference database is the important thing to the scanner’s success.

The database, which has been constructed utilizing knowledge from Australian tiger prawns sourced from the Sydney Fish Market, contains about 320 particular person prawns from verified sources representing 10 separate farms and 4 wild-caught areas.

Thus far, the scanner has solely been examined in tiger prawns however different reference databases for frequent seafood merchandise are within the pipeline.

Dr Mazumder stated a snapper database was underway, whereas bluefin tuna and oysters have been earmarked as precedence initiatives.

After that, the group will look to develop a barramundi database.

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