Students Use DNA Barcodes to Unmask “Mislabeled” Fish at Grocery Stores, Restaurants

Rockefeller University / Trinity School

New York

Kate and LouisaTwo New York City high school friends, curious about new DNA barcoding technology, discovered that fish at local stores and restaurants are commonly mislabeled and sold for far more than regular market price.

Worse, in two cases DNA barcode tests revealed that filleted fish sold as the popular Red Snapper (caught mostly off the southeast U.S. and in the Caribbean) was instead the endangered Acadian Redfish (which swims in the North Atlantic).

The report details the first known student use of the four-year-old DNA barcoding technology in a public marketplace. Based in part on the results, barcode scientists are developing sampling kits for schools – an educational program that could contribute to consumer protection at the same time.