New Traceability Implementation Guidance For U.S. Seafood Supply Chain

The free guide provides recommendations for tracking seafood as it moves through the supply chain from farms to processors, suppliers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators.

Boston: A new implementation guide for applying traceability standards in the U.S. seafood supply chain was announced today by the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and GS1 US at the International Boston Seafood Show last month.

The document, which is free and available immediately on the NFI website, was developed in collaboration by NFI, GS1 US, and U.S. seafood industry stakeholders to provide consistent, practical seafood-traceability guidance for voluntary industry-wide use. It defines minimum requirements and best-practice recommendations for tracking seafood as it moves through the supply chain from farms to processors, suppliers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators.

Organizations that contributed to the Traceability For Seafood: U.S. Implementation Guide include: American Seafood, Bumble Bee Foods, Darden Restaurants, Glacier Fish, Gorton’s, Handy International, Icelandic Seafoods, Inland Seafoods, North Carolina State University, Pacific Seafoods, Red Chamber and Trace Register.

“The Traceability Guide reinforces the seafood industry’s commitment to providing our customers and consumers with safe and sustainable seafood,” says Steve Mavity, senior vice president of quality assurance at Bumble Bee Foods. “It will allow us to leverage GS1 standards to enhance and standardize our product tracing efforts.”

The guidelines are based on the GS1 System, the world’s most widely used supply-chain standards system, and apply to all types of seafood products for human consumption. The guide also applies to all levels of product hierarchy – which may include shipping logistics unit information, lots, pallets, cases, consumer items with data elements, etc. – and is relevant to all U.S. distribution channel participants.

“A tremendous amount of thinking went into this document,” says Barbara Blakistone, Ph.D. and director of scientific affairs at NFI. “The Traceability Guide is destined to be the benchmark for the seafood industry.”

The 53-page guide includes illustrations and photographs that demonstrate precise “how-to” instructions for use of numerical identifiers, barcodes, and other standards needed for traceability.

“The seafood industry has been moving with amazing speed and clarity of purpose on this initiative,” says Gay Whitney, senior vice president of industry engagement at GS1 US. “Seeing their momentum and commitment to using standards, I’m confident the initiative will pay enormous dividends to consumers and the industry alike.”

The guide is free and available for download at www.aboutseafood.com/about/us-seafood-traceability-implementation-guide or http://www.gs1us.org/sectors/fresh_foods/seafood.