Loch Duart to fingerprint fish in fraud fight

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Northwest-Scotland salmon farmer, Loch Duart, has partnered with food-origin expert, Oritain, to fight what they say are food fraudsters using the company’s name to sell salmon in the United Kingdom and abroad.

“There have been incidents. It has happened,” a source close to the company said on the phone to SalmonBusiness, as we tried to learn how widespread the problem of illicit brand use was in salmon-farming. Loch Duart managing director, Albon Denton, confirmed as much in a statement: “Our distributors have told us that it happens, now we’re partnering with Oritain to ‘police’ the supply chain.”

Dunedin-based Oritain, Loch Duart’s partner in this, makes a business of proving the origin of food products, not just salmon, and it’s been hired to stop what the company says is fraudsters “passing off other salmon as Loch Duart’s”. Using “forensic analysis” is uses to protect other brands, Oritain will start “fingerprinting” Loch Duart’s farmed-salmon in 2018. The company produces 5,200 tonnes of salmon a year.

Oritain finds trace elements that occur “naturally” at each farm and are absorbed by the salmon raised there, a Loch Duart communique said. “Further analysis creates a unique fingerprint that is then used to verify the origin of the fish.”

Food fraud allegedly affects 10 percent of the global food supply chain of which salmon is a small part. Once a model of its farmed-fish DNA are produced, Loch Duart will be able to audit anywhere in the supply chain to learn where the salmon being tested originates from, the company said.

“Loch Duart will be first fish farmer in the northern hemisphere to use this leading technology,” a statement said.