Combatting Australian seafood fraud

23rd July 2020 | Eativity editors

The Coalition Government is backing the development of world-first portable X-ray fluorescence technology that aims to easily identify Australian seafood and protect against food fraud. The government is investing in the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation, which is leading a research project that’s using advances in isotopic and elemental fingerprinting to determine the provenance of seafood.

“Australian fisheries and aquaculture production is expected to grow to $3.84 billion in 2024-25,” says Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. “Unfortunately, some fraudulent parties mislabel produce as Australian, which could lead to devastating impacts on Australian seafood’s good reputation and consumption if people lose faith in our products.”

This new tech will support industry efforts to provide stronger assurances to trading partners and consumers about the origins, safety and quality of Australian seafood.

Combatting Australian seafood fraud
Fraudsters, we’ll be watching you.

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam says the development of this technology would be a breakthrough for Australian fishers.

“One of the greatest competitive strengths of Australian seafood is the fact that it is Australian, because Australian seafood is synonymous with being high-quality, safe and sustainably sourced,” he says. “But being the best means others want to be like you, and fraudulent seafood comes at a significant cost to the sector, which is why this project has the potential to be a major breakthrough for our industry.”

The tech is the first of its kind and will help the Australian seafood industry combat food fraud, protect consumer and producer interests and build confidence in supply chains.

“The device is being developed as a portable, rapid and convenient alternative to current lab-based testing methods to determine the origin of seafood along the supply chain, without requiring a sample,” Duniam says.

The project will begin with a small number of seafood varieties harvested from across Australia and sold in the Sydney Fish Market, but could be broadened to other varieties and agricultural sectors once procedures have been established.