Government Agency Seafood Safety Testing Program
AFT offers DNA-based species identification testing that meets regulatory needs. AFT has been carefully building a taxonomically-validated database of sequences to correctly identify individual species. AFT food scientists have meticulously curated a collection of economically important seafood specimens, which were taxonomically identified by third-party experts from internationally respected institutions, such as the Smithsonian and the Florida Museum. These taxonomically-validated specimens were then sequenced in multiple regions to create a database of unique sequences capable of correctly identifying and distinguishing different seafood species. Thus, only AFT can guarantee that the DNA sequence from a sample is compared to sequences from a taxonomically-validated reference library.
For regulators, having samples tested against the AFT taxonomically-validated reference is the only way to insure a defendant does not exploit the uncertainties of public databases during a prosecution for misbranding. If regulators choose to rely on DNA testing using public databases, then the likelihood of a prosecution leading to a conviction is very limited. Thus, the best way for regulators to protect the consumer from mislabeled seafood is to test with AFT.
Testing with AFT could result in almost zero cost for the agency. Statistically speaking, the likelihood of mislabeling is so high in certain species, that regulators could find 20-75% of all fish they test to be mislabeled. If the fine is greater than 5x the cost of the test, then even 20% mislabeling rate will result in fines that equal the cost of the test. When testing highly mislabeled species, the testing program could become a net positive for the agency.