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Traceability is here to stay: That’s one of the chief takeaways from this year’s Seafood Expo North America, in Boston, where entities dedicated to making sure that companies, wholesalers and consumers know where their fish comes from, as well as the conditions under which they were fished or farmed, were well represented among the exhibitors.
That fact was driven home by the release at the show of a report from international ocean conservation organization Oceana, “Fish Stories,” which details how seafood traceability benefits a range of companies throughout the supply chain, including retailers Whole Foods Market and Wegmans Food Markets.
“Traceability is the future of seafood,” noted Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Washington, D.C.-based Oceana. “Testimonials from these pioneers show that full-chain traceability isn’t just feasible, but that it’s also profitable. These businesses are telling the stories of their products, growing their seafood’s value, and establishing trust with their customers. Fishermen and wholesalers are able to earn more for their catch when they can tell the story of their fish, empowering consumers to make more informed decisions. The federal government should require boat-to-plate traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S. so that the entire supply chain can reap its benefits.”
On the show floor, PG spoke with Phil Werdal, CEO of Seattle, Wash.-based Trace Register and himself a fisherman for many years, about the company’s latest software offering, Traceability Plus (TR+), which he described as “a big jump in the deep end of the pool” in regard to making myriad supply chain data usable. Set to roll out during Q2, the comprehensive solution encompasses data collection, data quality management and analytics, giving users the ability to confirm food safety certification status and socially responsible and sustainable production, among other items. Further, in the wake of the enactment of the Food Safety Modernization Act, Trace Register is setting its sights beyond seafood, as Miami-based food distributor Quirch Foods will use TR+ to manage its frozen beef, poultry, pork and vegetable lines.