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Amid rising concern that retail establishments are selling misidentified seafood, Price Chopper Supermarkets has commissioned a voluntary test of its seafood stock. The objective report concluded that 100 percent of the fish tested was correctly labeled. Price Chopper said it was the first supermarket to voluntarily commission such testing.
The Northeast regional grocer submitted more than 150 randomly selected samples from 15 fish product lines at its Rotterdam, N.Y., warehouse to Therion International, the first commercial laboratory to provide DNA testing to verify seafood species identity. Therion conducted the tests for Price Chopper at its laboratory in the ISES/INVEST incubator facility of Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y.
“Price Chopper came to us to develop a testing protocol to help them reassure their customers about their labeling and the quality of their seafood,” explained William F. Gergits, managing member of Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based Therion. “Our tests found not one incidence of mislabeling.”
“Our purpose in commissioning a course of scientifically reliable DNA testing on our seafood, in addition to our own internal control procedures, is to provide quality assurances to our customers beyond those offered by other purveyors,” noted Lee E. French, VP of seafood at Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper. “Being able to verify the various species of fish that we carry, in much the same way that we document the sustainability of our sourcing, speaks to our philosophical position, as it offers our customers a well-deserved additional peace of mind.”
“[O]ur voluntary commission of DNA testing on our seafood products clarifies the paramount importance that Price Chopper continues to place on consumer advocacy,” added Mona Golub, the grocery chain’s VP of public relations and consumer and marketing services.
Other studies of both restaurants and retail food merchants have found that red snapper and white tuna were among the most often mislabeled seafood products. Both were tested in the Price Chopper study and were found to be labeled properly. News reports in such publications as the Boston Globe cite money as a common reason for misidentifying seafood – it’s more profitable to sell a less expensive fish as a similar-tasting one that could cost significantly more.
Price Chopper will hold a live chat on its Facebook page to discuss the seafood DNA testing on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 12-1 p.m., featuring French and Gergits.
The Golub Corp. owns and operates 130 Price Chopper grocery stores in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The family-managed company’s 23,000 associates collectively own 52 percent of its privately held stock, making it one of the nation’s largest privately held corporations that’s predominantly employee-owned.