According to a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the three federal agencies charged with detecting seafood fraud—the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the FDA—are not working together effectively. More than 80% of the five billion pounds of seafood consumed in the US in 2007 was imported. Types of seafood fraud include species substitution and mislabeling. The report states that the three agencies do not work together to identify or develop shared goals for detecting and preventing seafood fraud. As a result, there is no coordination of their programs or joint strategies, and the agencies do not share information. For example, the CBP, NMFS and FDA’s labs each use different test methods and standards for identifying seafood species. The CBP uses DNA sequencing, while the NMFS and FDA use isoelectrophoresis. The FDA is also developing its own databank of DNA sequences for seafood species. Among the GAO’s recommendations is the creation of an agency-wide library of seafood-species standards.

Source: GAO

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