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Wild American Shrimp introduces first-ever DNA-based testing for domestic shrimp species

SOUTH CAROLINA - Wild American(R) Shrimp, Inc. (WASI) in collaboration with Applied Food Technologies, LLC, announced the development of DNA-based testing for brown, pink and white domestic shrimp varieties. The test, the first of its kind for shrimp, allows for authentic verification that a product sold as a domestic shrimp product is indeed a domestic shrimp.

"We put a priority on this type of research for a reason," shared Eddie Gordon, executive director of WASI. "Within the larger seafood industry, specifically with fish and crab, the unscrupulous practice of replacing, or mixing in, cheaper, inferior, sometimes farmed seafood, for authentic wild- caught seafood has been clearly documented.

We do not want that to happen to Wild American shrimp. We want consumers to be assured that when they select certified Wild American shrimp off a menu or purchase the premium-quality shrimp at the grocery store, they're choosing real shrimp, wild harvested in the Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic that are certified to meet high standards." WASI funded the research and development of the DNA-based test.

As national and international regulatory concerns intensify around seafood authenticity and security, government regulators, importers, retailers, and consumer groups alike have expressed the need for proper labeling to ensure fish, shellfish and all seafood products are indeed the species and quality represented. "Our strategy involved designing and implementing an accurate, simple, cost-effective DNA-based diagnostic test that distinguishes the higher-value and preferred domestic varieties of shrimp from their respective, imported competitor or substituted species," said LeeAnn Applewhite, chief executive officer of Applied Food Technologies.

"This approach required procuring and taxonomically verifying the shrimp species of interest and the development of effective DNA markers that uniquely identify the targeted domestic species. We've created DNA-based testing for the brown, white and pink domestic varieties of U.S. shrimp that can be used to quickly verify that a lot of shrimp is indeed 100 percent certified Wild American Shrimp as labeled." Additional DNA-based testing of the other shrimp varieties is expected later in the year.

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