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Seafood Fraud – Is Traceability The Answer?

Oceana Study Seafood FraudYou might have seen on the news the Oceana study that found 33% of seafood all across the US was found to be incorrectly labeled.

Interestingly, red snapper – about the only type of fish I really like – was by far the worst. Of 120 samples only 7 were actually red snapper. Not a good state of affairs and probably serves us right for laughing at the horsemeat situation over in Europe.

Personally, if I order red snapper that’s what I want – not some random aquatic creature – so what is the solution? Well the nice Oceana people came to the conclusion that:

“Our findings demonstrate that a comprehensive and transparent traceability system – one that tracks fish from boat to plate – must be established at the national level”

The Huffington Post agrees:

“So what is the solution to seafood fraud? Simply put — traceability, or tracking our fish from boat to plate. More than 90 percent of the seafood we eat in America is imported and less than 1 percent is tested by the FDA for fraud. It may seem like a daunting task to monitor it all, but it really should not be. While some voluntary seafood traceability programs already exist in the U.S., tracking our seafood should be the norm, not a rare occurrence. We must demand that all seafood sold in the U.S. is traced from boat to plate, ensuring that it is safe, legal and honestly labeled. While U.S. fishermen provide much of this information at the dock, like where, when and how a fish was caught, little to none of it follows the fish throughout the rest of the supply chain. The technology for this kind of traceability already exists and the federal government simply needs to make it a mandate.”

GS1 Databar Seafood

GS1 DataBar for Seafood Traceability


While no traceability solution can ever be 100% accurate, things can certainly be a lot better than they are today. That is why we are big supporters of the Seafood Traceability Initiative being rolled out by the National fisheries Institute and GS1, the Standards organization.

If you are in the seafood business and are planning to attend the International Boston Seafood Show next month, make a point of coming to talk to us at the Winco ID booth (191). We’ll be showing label and barcode solutions for getting into compliance with the Traceability Initiative. Click here for free admission.

Check out this Boston Globe video…

If you need any help with printing GS1 compliant labels for your seafood traceability, give me a call: 603-589-1553.

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