Rosalee Hellberg, Lilian Were
Game meats represent a multibillion dollar industry in the United States with high economic incentives associated with species substitution and mislabeling. However, there is currently a lack of information regarding the prevalence of mislabeled game meat on the U.S commercial market. The purpose of this study was to conduct a market survey of whole-cut game products sold within the United States to identify incidences of mislabeling using DNA barcoding. Identified species were also examined for classification as a threatened or endangered species. Fifty-four whole-cut game meat samples were collected from online distributors in the United States and sequenced across the 658 base-pair region of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene. The sequenced DNA was identified based on top species matches in the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) and GenBank. Data analysis revealed 18.5% of samples were mislabeled and 9.3% of samples were from a near-threatened or vulnerable species. Mislabeled game products included bison and yak identified as domestic cattle, red deer identified as llama and alpaca and black bear identified as beaver. Mislabeled products appeared to have been misbranded for economic gain or due to product mishandling. Although near threatened (bison) and vulnerable (lion) species were identified, the products were correctly labeled by the distributor. The results of this study revealed mislabeled game meat on the U.S. commercial market and suggest the need for further investigation of incidences to identify trends and prevalence.
Quinto, Charles; Tinoco, Rebecca; and Hellberg, Rosalee S., "Identification of Species in Commercially Sold Game Meats using DNA Barcoding" (2015). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 113.