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MSC Launches Investigation Over Bass Mislabelling

GLOBAL - The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has responded to the Current Biology article Genetic detection of mislabeled fish from a certified sustainable fishery, by launching an investigation and stating its concern over the result.

"Naturally, we are very concerned about the results in Current Biology." says Amy Jackson, Deputy Standards Director, MSC.

"The MSC has already launched an investigation and we have approached the authors to share their specific product information. Once we have conducted a full review of the products reported as mislabelled, we will publish the outcome of our investigation and provide information relating to actions the MSC has taken."

The MSC has a long running programme of DNA testing as part of its commitment to ensuring robust and credible chain of custody certification. In late 2008 and early 2009 the MSC collected samples of South Georgian (Patagonian) toothfish, (Dissostichus eleginoides).

The samples were analysed by the TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network (in a study led by Dr Rob Ogden). In June 2009, the results showed that all MSC ecolabelled products tested had come from the MSC certified fishery operating out of Area 48.3.

Ms Jackson added: "The MSC Chain of Custody programme requires full traceability checks at every point of the supply chain allowing the MSC to investigate any allegations of mislabelling. Our investigation will identify if any breach has occurred and pinpoint exactly where in the supply chain it happened."

"If proven, it could result in the suspension or withdrawal of their Chain of Custody certificate. The MSC uses DNA testing to complement its third party certification programme and it is a powerful tool in eradicating mislabelling from seafood supply chains. We hope to work with the authors of the paper along with other experts in this field to achieve this goal."

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