Baltimore-based InstantLabs announced Monday it is parterning with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop a test to detect phony catfish.
Only members of the Ictaluridae family can be marketed legally as catfish within the United States, yet a growing amount of fish from the Pangasiid family in Southeast Asia is mislabeled as catfish, the company said.
U.S. imports of Pangasiid frozen fillets rose, which is cheaper than U.S. catfish to 215 million pounds in 2014, from 7 million pounds in 2004.
Food labeled as catfish typically has to be sent to a lab for testing, a process that often takes a week or two. A portable testing machine developed by InstantLabs allows nonscientists in the seafood industry to verify blue crab and Coho salmon in a couple of hours.
"The ability to confirm the species of a fish fillet in under 2 hours is a game changer for the industry," InstantLabs CEO Steven Guterman said in a statement.