Food fraud and seafood

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Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson

Head of Value Creation

Product fraud in the food trade is a major global problem and seafood is one of the most cheated foods. Research indicates, among other things, that species fraud occurs in about a third of marine products sold in many of our main trading partners. It is therefore clear that this is a matter of great interest to Icelandic producers, as Icelandic seafood is in competition with "counterfeit foods", in addition to which "counterfeit foods" are possibly sold as Icelandic production.

The fifth conference in connection with the FoodIntegrity project was held in Nantes, France in mid-November. The conference presented the latest research and solutions to tackle food fraud. There were over 300 participants, from 40 countries. The program consisted of 57 presentations, two workshops and one discussion meeting.

Matís is a participant in the FoodIntegrity project and in the part of the conference that dealt with food fraud in connection with seafood, Matís played a key role. It examined in particular the nature of such frauds, how the frauds take place, how large they are and how they can be detected and detected.

It is clear that fraud with seafood is a big problem, but research has shown that type fraud with seafood is up to 30%. It is also considered food fraud when fish is sold under a false flag, including catch from pirate fishing, if forced labor is carried out during production and where hygiene / food safety requirements are not observed.

A matter of great interest to Iceland

Food fraud in marine products is of great interest to Icelandic producers as Icelandic production is in competition with "counterfeit food" and in addition "counterfeit food" is possibly sold as Icelandic production.

In connection with the FoodIntegrity project, a survey was carried out across Europe, where a number of restaurants were visited and samples were taken for species analysis, with genetic analysis. The results came as a bit of a surprise, but the Icelandic restaurants that were included in the sample did not do well. The results of this survey can be seen here.

The FoodIntegrity project is now complete and the results of the project will be crucial in dealing with food fraud in the future. Many nations within the EU have taken the issue seriously and have set up monitoring units focused on the fight against fraud in the food sector. One of the main contributions of the FoodIntegrity project in that fight are databases where you can get information about food fraud and what tools and equipment are available to detect such fraud. In addition, a special has been released manual and scripts.

The FoodIntegrity project is a good example of how international research collaboration, of which Matís is a part, has enabled Icelanders to participate in research and development that is of significant importance to Icelandic interests and Icelandic society.