Developing Standards and Testing
The SSA is a primary sponsor and partner in efforts by the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) International to develop testing methods and standards to identify various harmful contaminants in seafood.
Richard Vendetti represented the SSA by serving on the AOAC International’s Stakeholders Panel for Marine and Freshwater Foods. During a two-day conference, the Panel worked towards creating rapid tests for illegal drugs in seafood—such as those repeatedly found in imported, farm-raised shrimp—and multi-analyte tests that will allow for labs to detect multiple contaminants through a single evaluation of a shrimp sample.
AOAC is working to develop fast and affordable methods for testing for fluoroquinolones, nitrofurans, chloramphenicol, quinolones, methyltestosterone, malachite green and gentian violet in shrimp, catfish, tilapia, and salmon. The importance of the development of less expensive methods for identifying harmful contaminants was underscored by the presentations of various state government officials who noted that, despite continued detection of dangerous antibiotics and other substances, budget constraints have severely restricted the ability of regulators to conduct testing regimens. In particular, one state official reported that Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are no longer able to test seafood products to ensure their safety for their respective state’s consumers.
The Panel includes representation from government, industry, academia, and other organizations. Panel members (voting and non-voting) included representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, NOAA, USDA-FSIS, the FDA, and state government food safety officials. On behalf of domestic industry groups, the SSA and the U.S. catfish industry have worked with Slade Gorton & Co. and the AOAC to address the problem of insufficient testing of imported seafood. The Panel also explored methods to identify seafood authenticity in light of recent seafood mislabeling schemes (i.e.- farm-raised vs. wild caught shrimp).