Scientists at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany have figured out a way to "tag" farmed caviar by supplementing the sturgeons diet with trace amounts of unique chemical compounds not normally occurring in nature.
Lead scientist Sven Wuertz believes this form of "tagging" could lead to a cheap and effective tool for labeling and distinguishing farmed caviar from Caspian "wild" caviar and ultimately illegally poached black-market caviar.
Although the idea of placing a genetic signature within farm-rasied sturgeon is relatively elegant and simple in design, multiple concerns exist with regulation by officials (CITES), primarily regarding cost, logistics, and the need for experts in the field. Further, Konrad Dabrowski who studies aquatic biochemistry at Ohio State University in Columbus, raises concerns on how "food additives" such as these tagging chemical compounds could cause side effects on sturgeon and humans who are consuming the caviar. As always, further detailed tests are suggested to determine if such a method is both safe and viable.
Even if it is years away, this is precisely the type of technology that will benefit legitimate caviar purveyors, caviar consumers, and worldwide CITES regulation towards the sustainability of caviar.