Aquaculture for all

New ASC technology can verify seafood origin at over 95 percent accuracy

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The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has pioneered a technology that can verify ASC-certified seafood back to its farm of origin with better than 95 percent accuracy.

ASC's technology – based on Trace Element Fingerprinting (TEF) – will, in part, help the organisation further reduce seafood fraud and mislabelling, occurrences all too common in both wild-caught and farmed seafood.

"If you want to make claims about being the 'best' or 'sustainable,' you must be able to verify where and how the seafood was raised," said Peter Redmond, senior market development manager, ASC North America. "We are encouraged by the opportunity this technology brings to further strengthen our certification programme."

ASC is the world's leading provider of farmed seafood certification. Since 2010, ASC has been creating and enforcing the world's strictest combination of standards for

  • Improving farmed seafood quality and safety.
  • Ensuring supply chain integrity by tracing from the farm to the store.
  • Providing full transparency through public disclosure.
  • Protecting the environment, workers and communities.

ASC is the only certifying programme that can verify your seafood is what it claims to be, where it came from, how it was responsibly raised and how it got to you.

Now, with TEF, ASC has the ability to trace farmed seafood with even more accuracy. Tests have already been conducted at several ASC-certified shrimp farms in Southeast Asia. In these, ASC and their partners were able to correctly identify the farms of origin in all samples and achieved better than 95 percent accuracy compared to lower accuracy rates for conventional statistical methodologies.

"ASC's use of TEF technology reflects the concept that 'you are what you eat,'" Redmond added. "The environment in which you eat, drink and live leaves a footprint in your body, and the same is true of farmed seafood. Trace elements from the local soils, groundwater, surrounding environment and food are taken in by plants and animals and, with our use of TEF technology, we can link them back to their place of origin."

The organisation will continue to test and refine the technology and aims to implement it on all ASC-certified farms.

"While the ASC label is a symbol to consumers that their product comes from a certified responsible farm, we also need to constantly adapt to new technologies," said Wendy Banta, senior programme assurance manager, ASC. "Now, with TEF technology, we are further pushing mislabelling and fraud out of this industry and driving what we call, 'the new way to seafood.'"

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