November 17, 2014

University of Guelph partnership produces two-hour crab meat test; Full portfolio of seafood tests under development

  • Food Fraud
  • News

By InstantLabs

BALTIMORE – November 17, 2014 — InstantLabs® announced today the commercial launch of its InstantID Atlantic Blue Crab DNA verification test – the first in a series of seafood species identification tests to help the global seafood industry respond to the increasing challenge of seafood fraud. The new species verification assay was created through a partnership with the University of Guelph, recognized as an international leader in agricultural and food science.

The InstantID Blue Crab test is the first of several seafood species assays developed through the InstantLabs-University of Guelph partnership.  Entering the seafood market segment, the Baltimore-based manufacturer of food safety test kits is expanding the use of its Hunter® system. Work on additional InstantID kits for snapper, catfish, grouper, and tilapia is expected throughout 2015.

InstantLabs’ Hunter® Real-Time PCR instrument combines accuracy, speed, and ease-of-operation into a compact portable system. The Hunter® system is designed for use at points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of food samples by targeting DNA.   Results delivered quickly allow seamless integration into food industry firms’ processes and facilities.

“With the rise of seafood fraud, InstantLabs wants to bring the power of real-time PCR to an important industry that has few options for quickly verifying accuracy in labeling,” said Steven Guterman, InstantLabs Chief Executive Officer.

“Using the Hunter® system, wholesalers and distributors in the seafood industry can validate the authenticity of a sample of crab meat in two hours. This test can be performed in their own facility on their own schedule,” added Guterman.   “This kit is just the beginning. More InstantID tests are on the way.”

InstantLabs® identification tests were designed for use on the Hunter®, the portable, DNA-based test system developed by the company, and are also available for use with other PCR instruments.

Dr. Robert Hanner, Ph. D., has directed the University of Guelph’s research in conjunction with InstantLabs. “This collaboration has been essential in commercializing DNA-based food authentication tests for the seafood industry,” said Dr. Hanner, associate professor at the Center of Biodiversity Genomics. “This technology will help safeguard against existing supply chain vulnerabilities, protecting both businesses and consumers from food fraud.”

Reports from within the seafood industry continue to highlight concerns about seafood fraud, species substitution and consumer preferences to use sustainable fish stocks. Approximately one-third of all fish sold in the U.S. was mislabeled, reported a recent survey from Oceana.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration publishes a chart highlighting lower quality fish sold regularly for 20 higher-priced species.  InstantLabs will provide critical tool sets needed by the industry to protect the supply chain.

 ABOUT INSTANTLABS: InstantLabs, a molecular diagnostic device company, developed and markets the Hunter® Accelerated-PCR system, a fully-integrated, easy-to-use, portable and affordable real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) platform for rapid, accurate pathogen detection. InstantLabs Medical Diagnostics Corp., the legal entity, offers the Hunter® system for use with several food-borne pathogen test kits for the global food industry. The Hunter® system is especially well suited for use at points-of-care and points-of-need to detect and analyze a wide variety of common and problematic pathogens. InstantLabs’ growing worldwide customer base includes some of the world’s leading food companies. InstantLabs is also developing products for additional markets, including medical diagnostics where gold-standard accuracy, combined with Ease-of-use and rapid results, are critical.  Founded in 2008, InstantLabs is located in Baltimore, MD. For more information please visit

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH: Acknowledged as one of the leading public research universities, the University has 39 Canada Research chairs in natural sciences, energy, health services and social sciences. With a commitment to student learning and innovative research, University leaders are dedicated to cultivating the essentials for our quality of life – water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community also shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development. Learn more at

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