FDA changes cod listing, still calls it Alaska pollock


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
March 4, 2015

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has changed its scientific designation for Alaska pollock to match that of cod, but marketers worried about making changes need not worry yet.

In February, the FDA released its 2015 Seafood List, classifying seafood sold in the United States. It also provides updates and changes to various designations of seafood in the country. According to the list, the species classified under the latin Theragra chalcogramma, otherwise known as Alaska pollock, has been reclassified as Gadus chalcogrammus. The difference is significant, as the genus Gadus is more commonly associated with what is considered to be cod.

A similar ruling by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in January 2014 caused a panic until NOAA’s Marjorie Mooney-Seus assured the industry that the change doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the industry, and that no one should start calling pollock cod.

“The process for changing a scientific name is pretty involved and changing the name of this species of pollock is not a done deal yet,” she told SeafoodSource at the time. “There are a lot of commercial implications involved with this and it must be vetted through international organizations like the World Trade Organization, the FAO and the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. It also must be considered domestically by the Food and Drug Administration.”

While there have been no statements from FDA, the designation change is merely a scientific one. On the same Web page describing the change, FDA only lists “Pollock or Alaska Pollock” under acceptable market names.

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