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Researcher Pablo Presa, from the Marine Genetic Resources Group from the University of Vigo. (Photo: duvi.uvigo.es)

It’s hake, but of a lower quality than shown

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Friday, November 04, 2011, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

Scientists from the Marine Genetic Resources Group (Rexenmar) at the University of Vigo found that about 6 per cent of products made with hake that are sold in supermarkets are usually different as to quality -- lower in general –from the one indicated on their labels.

The scientific study covers 50 commercial products with different brands available in the supermarkets in the area of Vigo and Pontevedra, including fresh, frozen, ultra-frozen hake or refrigerated hake pâtés and pre-cooked products such as paella.

The researcher Pablo Presa, group leader, said they used two biological identification methods: one with nuclear DNA and the other with mitochondrial DNA.

According to the expert, it was found that most of the time hake was identified as 'pincho' when it was actually Merluccius paradoxus, which is "perhaps the hake variety of the worst quality."

"It is still the same fish, but of varying quality, which is usually lower," the scientist clarified.

"We tracked all the types of treatments and evaluated the reliability of both methods separately and combined. This is important because there are many systems but nobody says what the percentage of success is," he explained.

Thanks to the combined use of both methods, researchers at the University of Vigo achieved 100 per cent success in the cases of pre-cooked and ultra-frozen hake, whose identification is more complex.

The patent of the two methods will be exploited by the company Teaxul from Vigo until 2012.

The study has just been sent to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry for review and subsequent publication.

By Analia Murias



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