Loch Duart drives anti-fish fraud fight

Loch Duart director Andy Bing

THE independent Scottish salmon producer Loch Duart is spearheading a campaign to outlaw illegal fish fraud, some of it bearing the company’s name.

The Sutherland company, which prides itself on farming in an ethical and sustainable way, says the fraudsters usually use inferior fish. It is now adapting technology to launch a sting operation against suspected operators.

Food fraud has become a major problem for food producers in many countries, particularly those at the quality end, such as Loch Duart.

Andy Bing, who co-founded Loch Duart 20 years ago, told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: ‘It is illegal, but people are very rarely caught. We want to change that.

‘It normally happens in big cities where you get less scrupulous fish wholesalers, who will go to a high-end restaurant, say they\’ve got Loch Duart salmon, but they\’re selling something from a cheaper provenance and invoicing it as Loch Duart salmon.’

Loch Duart has been working with the New Zealand based traceability firm Oritain, which uses science to find out exactly where products come from.

‘Nature gives everything specific markers that is unique to its origin,’ Bing told the programme. ‘The technology could even trace elements from the loch where the fish is farmed.

‘We\’ve tried to do a couple of stings. We\’ve been led to somewhere by a loyal customer who says, \’I think I\’ve been delivered something which is not the real deal’. We\’ve gone down there with our sample bags and tried to apprehend them.

‘We\’ve been doing several checks in the south of England over the last few months. A couple of restaurants refused to give us samples. You can draw your own conclusions from that.’

He also said that some of the salmon used in the testing could be shown as evidence in any subsequent court case.

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