This report (Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular No. 1165. Rome, Italy) prepared by Alan Reilly (ex head of FSA-Ireland)  presents evidence highlighting the serious consequences of fraud for the fish sector. It describes the different types of fraud that can take place along the fish supply chain, for example: intentional mislabelling, species substitution, overglazing and overbreading, and the use of added water and undeclared water-binding agents to increase weight. 

It  shows that combating fish fraud is a complex task that requires the strengthening of national food regulatory programmes and the development of effective, science-based traceability systems and improved methods for fish authenticity testing. It highlights the need for the fish industry to develop and implement systems for fish fraud vulnerability assessment in order to identify potential sources of fish fraud within their supply chains, and to prioritise control measures to minimize the risk of receiving fraudulent or adulterated raw materials or ingredients. The publication also indicates an important role for the Codex Alimentarius Commission – to work in collaboration with countries inorder to develop international principles and guidelines designed to identify, manage and mitigate fraudulent practices in food trade and to develop guidelines to standardise food safety management systems for fish fraud vulnerability assessment. 

 Read the abstract here, and the full report

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  • Roger,

    I agree that it is easier to write about setting up food control systems than actually implementing them, especially who will pay for them.

    There is another interesting point in the Report, when it recommends that Codex help in the prevention of fraud. Having succeeded in introducing nitrogen determination and nitrogen factors into the Codex Standard for Breaded Fish Products as a method to verify fish content or determine added water (both issues highlighted in the Report), one major country did their very best to try and remove them as a method in favour of the AOAC coating stripping method for fish core measurement. Although nitrogen determination and using a factor is not perfect by any means, it is a lot better for fish content and added water than the AOAC method. Fortunately the unnamed country did not succeed in removing nitrogen factors completely, but it did manage to downgrade the method.  

    Everyone is caught by GDPR, but I will need to ask the experts as to what effect this will have on the Network.


  • Hi

    The last paragraph of the FAO Report says:

    "The fishery sector also need to upgrade its food control systems to take account of risks of fraud in their supply and marketing chains.  A structured system for fish fraud vulnerability assessment needs to be developed and integrated into routine food quality and safety management programmes."

    On most, if not all, of such Reports across the sectors no information (or even guesstimates) is ever given on what the true cost of such programmes would be.  Without it nothing will get done on an on-going basis.  One has only to look at what has happened in the UK with respect to enforcement/control over the years.  Perceived as an easy cost-reduction target by so many control authorities.

    Is the Network caught by the GDPR, by the way?




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