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    Traceable U.S.-sold Seafood a Must: Expert

    Complex supply chains require electronic management systems

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information

    While some suppliers may see President Barack Obama's recent call for all seafood sold in United States to be sustainable and traceable as an example of governmental overreach, according to a seafood business and traceability expert, it's a good thing.

    "Global seafood supply chains are long and complex, and 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported," explained Phil Werdal, CEO of Seattle-based Trace Register, which provides a web-based, on-demand traceability application designed to meet international standards and support worldwide supply chains. "Managing these products with traditional paper-based systems is no longer possible, given the sheer amount of data that must be monitored."

    Adds Werdal: "Some leading suppliers and retailers have adopted electronic traceability systems to help them improve the compliance, consistency and sustainability of their products. We are encouraged to see the U.S. government also recognize the importance of electronic traceability and strongly come out in favor of it. About 30 percent of leading U.S. retailers use our traceability software, and with the national spotlight now focused on sustainability, we hope to see others follow in their footsteps."

    President Obama's June 17 memorandum noted that as it was "in the national interest of the United States to promote a framework that supports sustainable fishing practices and combats seafood fraud and the sale of IUU [illegal, unreported, and unregulated] fishing products ... the United States will need to enhance the tools it has available to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including" collaborating with Congress in bolstering the enforcement provisions of U.S. statutes for the implementation of international fisheries agreements, and working with industry and foreign partners to create and put into effect new and existing measures, among them traceability programs, to ensure accurate labeling at retail.

    By Bridget Goldschmidt, Stagnito Business Information
    • About Bridget Goldschmidt In addition to serving as Progressive Grocer’s Managing Editor, Bridget writes many print and digital features encompassing a range of grocery and fresh categories across the store. Bridget also enjoys on-site reporting assignments at such key industry events as the New York Fancy Food Show and the International Boston Seafood Show, in addition to visiting stores for PG’s prestigious Store of the Month feature. In her years with the magazine, she has developed into a knowledgeable voice on grocery industry trends, sought by such distinguished publications as The New York Times.

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