Fera was asked by a major seafood company to test the frozen prawns it imported for the undeclared presence of polyphosphates. The company purchased frozen prawns from suppliers in Asia, packaged them and sold them on to supermarkets. Polyphosphates are used legitimately (up to a certain level) to aid water retention in some frozen seafoods. However, its use must be declared to ensure that products treated with polyphosphates are clearly identified.
Fera developed and validated a test for polyphosphates in prawns. The method is now used regularly by the company to ensure that its prawn supply chains are being properly controlled and managed. The test is available as a commercial service for other seafood manufacturers.
On the back of this work, Fera conducted a wider survey which found that 25% of seafood samples contained undeclared polyphosphates. This demonstrates the genuine need for greater application of analytical testing techniques to verify the authenticity of seafood imported into the UK.
We can also test for 'added' phosphates in prawns, white fish and chicken, distinguishing between the naturally occurring levels of phosphates and the level of added phosphates. Get in touch to find out more.