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Wild American Shrimp introduces first-ever DNA-based testing for domestic shrimp species

Feb. 7, 2007
Carolina Newswire
Wild American(R) Shrimp, Inc. (WASI) in collaboration with Applied Food Technologies, LLC, announced the development of DNA-based testing for brown, pink and white domestic shrimp varieties. The test, the first of its kind for shrimp, allows for authentic verification that a product sold as a domestic shrimp product is indeed a domestic shrimp.

"We put a priority on this type of research for a reason," shared Eddie Gordon, executive director of WASI. "Within the larger seafood industry, specifically with fish and crab, the unscrupulous practice of replacing, or mixing in, cheaper, inferior, sometimes farmed seafood, for authentic wild- caught seafood has been clearly documented. We do not want that to happen to Wild American shrimp. We want consumers to be assured that when they select certified Wild American shrimp off a menu or purchase the premium-quality shrimp at the grocery store, they're choosing real shrimp, wild harvested in the Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic that are certified to meet high standards." WASI funded the research and development of the DNA-based test.

As national and international regulatory concerns intensify around seafood authenticity and security, government regulators, importers, retailers, and consumer groups alike have expressed the need for proper labeling to ensure fish, shellfish and all seafood products are indeed the species and quality represented. "Our strategy involved designing and implementing an accurate, simple, cost-effective DNA-based diagnostic test that distinguishes the higher-value and preferred domestic varieties of shrimp from their respective, imported competitor or substituted species," said LeeAnn Applewhite, chief executive officer of Applied Food Technologies. "This approach required procuring and taxonomically verifying the shrimp species of interest and the development of effective DNA markers that uniquely identify the targeted domestic species. We've created DNA-based testing for the brown, white and pink domestic varieties of U.S. shrimp that can be used to quickly verify that a lot of shrimp is indeed 100 percent certified Wild American Shrimp as labeled." Additional DNA-based testing of the other shrimp varieties is expected later in the year.

About Wild American(R) Shrimp, Inc.
Wild American Shrimp, Inc.(WASI) devotes its resources to raising public awareness about the many nutritional and economic benefits of domestic, wild- caught shrimp. It is designed to educate consumers about the advantages of selecting Wild American shrimp that grows naturally, is caught fresh and supports the shrimp industry of eight Gulf and South Atlantic states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and South Carolina.

The Wild American Shrimp Certification Program, administered by WASI, ensures that warm-water, wild caught shrimp from U.S. coastal waters meet a high standard of quality and consistency. Shrimp that meet these stringent standards are labeled with the distinctive certified Wild American Shrimp mark. More than 50 approved suppliers provide this quality product to processors, distributors, retailers, grocers and restaurants who rely on the quality and consistency of the certification and the certified Wild American Shrimp logo to distinguish their product. Participation in the certification program is available to harvesters, processors, distributors, retailers, grocers, and restaurateurs.

About Applied Food Technologies, LLC
Applied Food Technologies (AFT) is a molecular diagnostics company engaged in the research, development and commercialization of products and services for the food industry. The company has built a strong species diagnostic program based on its AUTHENTI-KITSM technology platform. AUTHENTI-KITSM is designed to reliably and accurately identify the species of animal tissues used in food production. AFT's seafood identification method is unique in the commercial marketplace in that its foundation is based solely on taxonomically validated reference species. AFT successfully uses its technology to correctly identify crab, shrimp, squid and catfish at the species level. The accuracy and sensitivity advantages of this test method allow for the direct detection of genetic markers, rather than the traditional monitoring of protein patterns.
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