Tourists and natives alike shell out top dollar for Florida seafood, whether it’s fish, shrimp or mussels. Visitors can rest easy knowing the delicious local cuisine they’re eating is authentic — right?


Robert Ulrich, a recent Ph.D. microbiologist at USF, and a team of USF researchers have developed a handheld tool that tells whether a $15 plate of grouper is the real catch or a fishy imposter.


Grouper is the third-most economically valuable seafood product in Florida, Ulrich said, behind only shrimp and stone crab. Mislabeled seafood is estimated to cost the industry and its consumers an estimated $25 billion annually, according to a study by the nonprofit organization Oceana.


“The reason it has taken so much time to get to this stage in development is that we want to solidify our tests as much as possible,” Ulrich said. “This project started out as strictly academic several years ago and has turned into something potentially much more impactful.” 


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