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Fish mislabeling occurs all along supply chain, study reveals




Seafood lovers may be fishing for answers after a study by University of Guelph researchers suggests fish is being mislabeled at more than one point in Canada’s supply chain.

Bob Hanner, an associate professor in the department of integrative biology at the U of G says researchers found mislabeling was compounding at each stage of the supply chain.

“Nearly 20 per cent of the samples being imported into Canada were mislabeled,” said Hanner.

“At the wholesale and processor level that was closer to 30 per cent. And then at the retail level closer to 40 per cent.”

Hanner and the University worked with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to collect 203 samples from 12 species of fish. Researchers used DNA bar coding to determine the species.

Fraud or honest mistake?

The misidentification is bit of both human error and fraud, said Hanner.

Anyone buying fish that has already been skinned and processed may not know the difference, as some seafood is hard to tell apart.

“So we do see evidence of low value commodities being substituted for a species of a higher market value,” Hanner said.

“Things like farmed Tilapia being sold as Red Snapper, farmed salmon being sold as Wild Pacific salmon.”

Hanner says if mislabeling happens in error, consumers could sometimes also be getting more expensive fish at a cheaper price. However, he said there’s no evidence that ever happens.

Barcode solution

In the decade he has been documenting seafood fraud Hanner said the focus was on the consumer and retailer, but until this study researchers never knew which level along the supply chain the mislabeling was occurring.

Researchers want to see Canada move to a similar system used in Europe where the scientific Latin name of the genus and species is placed on the label.

A DNA test would make it easy to determine if the fish is actually what the retail label indicates.

That also means testing should be done at different points along the journey from processing to consumer in order to determine where the mislabeling occurred

Ask questions

Until that happens, Hanner suggests consumers ask question of retailers and food service establishments about what they’re eating.

“Where the fish came from; what species is it? I think are good questions,” said Hanner.

Alternatively, consumers could buy the product earlier in the process. “Buy less processed products. You know if you buy it with the head on or catch it yourself you’re a lot more likely to get what you’re paying for.”


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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton




OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training




Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test




While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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