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Baltimore company to develop tool to detect phony catfish

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.

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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.

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"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.

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