Determining the provenance and authenticity of seafood: a review of current methodologies

Karthik Gopi, Debashish Mazumder*, Jesmond Sammut, Neil Saintilan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    68 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Globally, food provenance has become a concern for government authorities, the seafood industry and consumers due to increasing food safety and authenticity requirements. Wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture are both important industries; aquaculture is seen as an opportunity to strengthen food security for the growing global population. However, unregulated aquaculture can expose consumers to health risks from pathogens, antibiotics and banned chemicals. Consumers and retailers, and the reputation of the global seafood industry, is affected by food fraud through species substitution and the exchange of aquaculture produce with wild-caught product and vice versa. To ensure consumer confidence and to allow authorities to effectively enforce regulations and contain risks, methods to determine the species, production methods and geographic origin of seafood need to be readily available.

    Scope and approach: This review summarises the currently available and emerging methodologies to determine the provenance and authenticity of seafood. The main focus of this review is to give an overview of the methods that could potentially be used by authorities to enforce regulations and to contain risks, and for the seafood industry to self-regulate and protect itself from food fraud.

    Key findings and conclusions: The most common methods used are DNA profiling, fatty acid profiling, different methods of inductively coupled plasma spectrometry and stable isotope analysis. Additionally, methods such as blockchain, radio frequency identification and x-ray fluorescence through Itrax are currently being tested for their effectiveness in determining seafood provenance. However, these methods have drawbacks and it is likely that a combination of methods would be best suited to determine the provenance of seafood considering its complex supply chain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)294-304
    Number of pages11
    JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


    • Aquaculture
    • Authentication
    • Fingerprinting
    • Seafood
    • Traceability


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