Crab Fraud Concerning Local Fishermen, Researchers Turn to DNA Testing to Protect Crabbing Industry (13/ABC NewsNow)

Crab Fraud Concerning Local Fishermen, Researchers Turn to DNA Testing to Protect Crabbing Industry

Last fall, a Hampton Roads seafood processor pleaded guilty to mislabeling millions of dollars of foreign crab meat as Chesapeake Blue Crab. The federal investigation found James Casey falsely labeled and sold almost 400,000 pounds of crab meat after mixing local crab with crab from Asia, Central America, and South America.

Researchers said this case is not isolated. Kimberly Warner, a senior scientist at nonprofit advocacy group Oceana, said seafood fraud is pervasive and a growing problem.

Oceana used DNA testing for a 2015 study into the mislabeling of Chesapeake Blue Crab. Testers can tell which region of the world a crab is from by surveying the meat.

LeeAnn Applewhite, CEO of Applied Food Technologies, a UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech alumni company, said 80 percent of the crab her company receives for testing is either mixed or mislabeled. Warner said this is the reason for widespread concern and shows an extensive problem.

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