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This paper is intended to provide an overview of the application of some analytical techniques to ensure seafood safety and authenticity.

The first part examines traditional and modern methods for the detection and typing of agents implicated in seafood-borne diseases, i.e. toxins, viruses, bacteria and parasites. Immunological analyses, molecular biology methods (such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] and related techniques), and protein-based analyses (including proteomics) for detection and typing are discussed. The detection of strains carrier of resistance to disinfectants and some antibiotics is specially addressed.

The second part deals with methods to ensure seafood authenticity, a problem which has evolved due to increasing international trade of processed and aquacultured fish of a great variety of species. Most countries have passed legislation to ensure correct traceability and product labelling, and one section of this document is dedicated to current legislation in the United States of America and Europe. Protein and DNA analyses seem to be the most suitable methods for species identification; however, new techniques must be developed for full authentication with respect to freshness, production method, geographic origin, processing parameters, etc. Natural isotope distribution, trace element and magnetic resonance analyses seem to be the best candidates in this regard.

With advances in the fields of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, and increased international concern about food quality and safety, the development of improved kits and equipment to ensure the identity and safety of foodstuffs can be expected. Thousands of analyses might thus be automatically handled in a much shorter time than required at present.

Martinez, I.; James, D.; Loréal, H.
Application of modern analytical techniques to ensure seafood safety and authenticity.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 455. Rome, FAO. 2005. 73p.

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