Identification of the origin of seafood and determination of its freshness



This technology describes a new system for authenticity assessment of seafood and determination of its freshness. The technology is consisted of two innovative solutions: (a) the use of stable isotopes to identify the origin of seafood, and (b) to test the portable spectroscopy to determine the freshness of fish.

Technology Description

The expanding commercialization of products derived from fisheries and aquaculture have generated the need to authenticate the production method of several products. New strict legislations have required that seafood products display information related to the origin and production method of aquatic organisms traded in specific regions. The relatively new science of food forensics is employing a range of developing isotopic techniques that have allowed detecting adulterated and counterfeit food. This technology utilizes the use of dual stable isotope analysis as a tentative tool to authenticate samples of Adriatic fish under the hypothesis that the isotopic values of semi-intensively farmed fish are influenced by the isotopic signatures of the formulated diets and the pond’s natural productivity. The second part is related to the development of the method to determine fish freshness based on the use of portable VIS/UV spectroscopy to detect the freshness of fish based on the colour measurements. In parallel, identification of appropriate volatile organic compounds to identify the freshness of fish will be evaluated. The influence of various storage conditions (-1.5 to 15 °C) on the proliferation of SSO will be studied and their spoilage potential evaluated first by chemical analysis of TVB-N and TMA and possible sensory analysis.

Main advantages

Main advantage of the proposed solution for authenticity and traceability assessment of sea food using stable isotope approach is the development of the databases and statistical models. For the identification of the fish freshness based on colour change and VOC, robust models and a practical instrument for commercial use will be developed and calibrated. The proposed project will test the portable UV/VIS system that could be used to check the freshness of fish and will connect the data with the VOC developed during the storage.

Stage of development

The technology is in the TRL 3 – experimental proof of concept. No further information is provided.

Challenge and needs

The globalization of food chains and suppliers has increased the complexity and potential risks of the seafood product business. Since manufacturers are responsible for health risks and fraud arising from their products, they need to ensure traceability of raw materials throughout the supply chain. Seafood quality assurance addresses the issues of managing safety, quality and logistics throughout the supply chain. It involves auditing, testing and inspection of the product at each stage to verify that it satisfies food safety and regulatory requirements.

Testing labs are addressing issues of managing safety, quality and logistics throughout the supply chain. However, while the dedicated testing labs act as a quality gate between producers, manufacturers and buyers, there is a lack of dedicated solutions on the market specialized for the use by the consumers of sea-food products and smaller companies. The unavailability of accommodated seafood analysis solutions for smaller companies and end consumers is reducing the possibilities to detect the health risks and fraud which were not yet prevented by the regulators and food safety authorities.

Intellectual property

The technology is still under development and it’s not yet protected.

Potential markets and targets

The main market targets are SMEs in food processing sector and end consumers. Potential target for this technology is the agrifood and sea-food industry: manufacturers of flavours and food ingredients, sea food producers, sea food shipping and handling companies. Potential applications of this technology include method and system for detection of artificial flavours in food ingredients, identification of origin of seafood, determination of freshness of fish.

Potential partners

Potential partners for co-development of the technology include producers, distributors, suppliers of sea food products, producers of sea food ingredients, companies providing services for the Authorities for supply chain's risk management (e.g. national food safety labs), and companies producing natural flavours.

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