Friday, April 27, 2012

A unique identification system - one code, fast traceable, safe and healthy

In our industry customer satisfaction is more than just the quality of the fish bought. It is also about branding and customer relationships.

That's the message Norway brought to the European Seafood Exposition 2012 in Brussels earlier this week when it held a press conference announcing a new project on labeling.

Attending the launch of the project was the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Mrs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, along with senior industry representatives such as the CEO of Marine Harvest, Alf Helge Aarskog, Gro Dyrnes from Innovation Norway and the CEO of Norwegian Seafood Federation.
"We have the Story of the Seafood we sell. What do you like to know?"

Modern consumers expect sustainable and healthy products, products made to suit their lifestyle at the best quality:price ratio. The 'story' behind seafood must therefore be available to the consumer, to the retailer and to all actors in the supply chain.

Today, most seafood producers give information about the seafood and label the products as best as they can. There is no standard - national or international - in operation on how to label the fish crates and pallets, and what information should follow the seafood from ocean or fishfarm to the consumer.
The consequence is that the consumer, the retailer, the fishmonger or your waiter may lack information about the quality of the seafood they sell, and where it is coming from.

Information is often transferred by fax, phone and the internet, or manually and punched into IT systems. This takes time and time is essential when handling fresh seafood. Lost time results in a shorter shelf life in stores.

Norway, as the world leading seafood supplier, has therefore funded a project which will solve this problem for all actors in the industry and supply chain - for the consumers' benefit.

The project
Innovation Norway has funded a project which will increase the quality and productivity in the Seafood Supply Chain, and for the benefit of the consumer: The project has been strongly supported by all players in the supply chain: producers, fish farmers, processors, logistic companies, exporters, importers, retail chains and Food and Health Authorities. And by the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.

The innovation project consists of three main actions:
  • Developing a new Standard for labeling fish crates and pallets, including electronic reading and what information should follow the Seafood from producer to consumer. Responsible body: Standard Norway
  • A pilot project for testing of the labeling system from producer to the seafood counter. Responsibility has been given to the logistics company DB Schenker in Norway, in cooperation with the producers and exporters Hallvard Lerøy AS and Nordic Group AS and Norway's largest food retail chain, Norges Gruppen ASA
  • An implementation project, for finding the needs and challenges for the seafood industry to start using the new standard. Developing the tools, system integration and support system to implement the standard among all the seafood producers and processors at lowest cost possible. Responsible body: Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL) and the Norwegian Seafood Association (NSL)

The Standard
The Standard defines the minimum size of the label and prescribes the information to be printed, of which a set of core data will be in electronic readable form, for example, bar codes. The Standard is independent for use of data capture technologies. Two dimensional bar codes or RFID technologies can be used as soon as the supply chain can utilize these technologies.

Each fish crate will have its own and unique identification. When fish crates are loaded on pallets, the pallets will get a label identifying which crates are on the pallet.
The Standard describes the information that shall follow the seafood during all logistics. Included, is information that is required by the different authorities in the different countries and the EU. It will include information the different players in the supply chain need in order to increase their productivity and quality, and to optimize their own processes.

The labeling system on fish crates and pallets will also be the source of information for efficient tracing and tracking.

This blog is written by staff at International Aquafeed Magazine which is published and supported by Perendale Publishers Limited. To get your copy of PPL's web application, 'PPLAPP' click here.

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