Main content area

DNA barcoding of fish species reveals low rate of package mislabeling in Qatar

Chen, Kuei-Chiu, Zakaria, Dalia, Altarawneh, Heba, Andrews, Gabriala Nathasha, Ganesan, Gowrii S., John, Karen M., Khan, Sarah, Ladumor, Heta
Genome 2019 v.62 no.2 pp. 69-76
DNA barcoding, databases, fish, fish fillets, food safety, polymerase chain reaction, seafoods, species identification, supermarkets, Europe, Middle East, North America, Northern Africa, Qatar
DNA barcoding technique has made it possible to authenticate various species used for food and medicinal purposes. In the identification of seafood species, studies are concentrated in North America, Europe, and Asia. Elsewhere, including countries in the Middle East and North Africa, studies of this sort are scarce. This study focuses on packaged fresh or minimally processed fish fillet available at eight major supermarket chains in Qatar. A cocktail of eight primers attached with M13 tails established for fish species identification was adopted to facilitate PCR and sequencing. Sequences were compared with those available in the Barcode of Life Databases (BOLD Systems) and BLAST in NCBI databases. Among the 62 unique fish packages with resolved sequences, only three are confirmed to be mislabeled, at a rate of about 5%. Two of the substituted species are high value items while the third species was replaced by another, equally low-cost species. The relatively low rate of mislabeling in the samples is perhaps a result of strict local food safety regulations, which may have led to high consistency between the package labels and their contents.