Uniform data collection continues to be key to enhancing seafood traceability


To effectively combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and push interoperable traceability efforts, the seafood industry needs to continue emphasizing collecting uniform data, according to Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) scientist Sara Bratager. 

At Seafood Expo Global – which ran from 25 to 27 April, in Barcelona, Spain – Bratager told SeafoodSource that the first step to pushing seafood traceability is for companies to collect uniform data. A pilot study performed by IFT and the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), seafood traceability standards created by the organizations as a benchmark, helped confirm the hypothesis that uniform data is key to enhancing full-chain traceability.

“The first step to getting everyone to exchange data simplistically is having everyone collect the same data points,” Bratager told SeafoodSource. 

IFT and GDST released the results of a seafood industry traceability pilot study, which fed into improving a seafood-wide traceability standard. GDST launched its first set of standards in 2020, and recently shifted its model to become an independent entity with paid memberships. 

The standard, Bratager said, provides a clear understanding of what data needs to be collected to progress toward full transparency in the seafood industry.

Throughout the study, GDST and IFT partnered with major seafood companies such as Beaver Street Fisheries, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Chicken of the Sea, FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, Insite Solutions/Norpac, ripe.io, SAP, Walmart, and Wholechain to collect and analyze uniform data to increase interoperability, optimizing diverse proprietary traceability systems.

The study focused on the initial GDST 1.0 seafood standards, and it demonstrated how the implementation of technical standards for product identification and data communication can pave the way for industry transparency. 

“Data collection is hard. You really need to have digitalized data in order to share it, and that’s a key part of our standard,” Bratager said.

Uniform data ...

Photo courtesy of Sara Bratager/LinkedIn

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