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A systematic analysis across North Atlantic countries unveils subtleties in cod product labelling

Bréchon, AL, Hanner, R and Mariani, S 2016, 'A systematic analysis across North Atlantic countries unveils subtleties in cod product labelling' , Marine Policy, 69 , pp. 124-133.

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Over the last decade, the mislabelling of seafood products has come to prominence in the fields of food science and marine conservation. This study aims to determine whether differences in fish labelling accuracy can be explained by factors associated with governance, legislation and product availability, using cod (Gadus spp.) as a case study. A total of 401 cod products from a range of different supermarket retailers in each of nine countries bordering the North Atlantic Ocean were purchased and genetically identified. The countries sampled were grouped into primarily cod-importing or cod-producing states, and belonging/not-belonging to the European Union. They comprised the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Canada. Estonia showed the highest incidence of mislabelling, with 59.4% samples mislabelled, followed by Denmark with 18.6%, Canada with 7.3%, Sweden with 4.4% and finally the United Kingdom with 2.4%. Substitute species included species within the Gadidae and Merlucciidae, such as haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), Alaskan pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) and Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi), respectively, but also included species more distantly-related to cod, such as snailfish (Liparis spp.), spotted wolffish (Anarhichas minor) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens), the latter a freshwater species. The remaining countries showed no mislabelling. Neither EU affiliation, production nor the type of product, i.e. fresh or processed, had a significant effect on mislabelling. It is suggested that other factors, such as country-specific differences at social, cultural or legal levels, may be the greater drivers of mislabelling.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Policy
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0308-597X
Related URLs:
Funders: PRTLI
Depositing User: Prof Stefano Mariani
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2016 12:47
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2016 08:57

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