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DNA Traceability System in Development

CANADA - A new DNA traceability system is being developed in New Brunswick to bring farm to fork food safety for salmon.

The project is currently being undertaken by the province's Research and Productivity Council (RPC) in Fredericton in conjunction with Cooke Aquaculture Ltd. of Blacks Harbour.

And the research is being financed by funds from the federal government following the recent announcement that six Research and Development projects in the province will receive a total of C$12.6 million.

The money is part of the Atlantic Innovation Fund, which will see up to C$63 million given to 29 public and private R&D facilities in the region over the next decade in hopes of bringing new knowledge, new jobs and new business opportunities to Atlantic Canada.

The new system being developed by the Research and Productivity Council is designed to track individual Atlantic salmon from "farm-to-fork" within a commercial aquaculture operation.

The project is expected to cost C$2.8 million, with C$1.9 million coming from the AIF and the balance of funding to come from a variety of private and public sector sources over the next four years.

"As far as we know this is the first project of its kind in the world of seafood," said Dr Rachael Ritchie, head of RPC’s Food, Fisheries & Aquaculture Department.

"DNA traceability will allow us to track individual fish and to verify its larger animal lot tracking system. We are currently working with Cooke Aquaculture Ltd to determine the unique 'DNA barcode' for each fish. This DNA barcode will remain with the fish throughout its life andwill facilitate tracking of individual animals. This research promises to revolutionize food traceability and contribute to food safety."