EWING, N.J. — A recent seafood industry traceability pilot study has confirmed that standards are essential to helping trading partners seamlessly exchange supply chain data across technology platforms, improving end-to-end visibility. The study was conducted by GS1 US in collaboration with the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Beaver Street Fisheries, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Chicken of the Sea, FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, Insite Solutions/Norpac, ripe.io, SAP, Walmart and Wholechain.
The pilot successfully demonstrated how technical standards for product identification and data communication can help industry achieve interoperability among diverse proprietary traceability systems while leveraging blockchain, cloud or other technologies to optimize data sharing. Specifically, this pilot focused on the GS1 System of Standards and on the GDST 1.0 seafood standards.
The interoperability of these systems supports the movement toward more widespread supply chain digitization and supports future requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) section 204 food traceability rule. Using real-world data, the pilot demonstrated how EPCIS (Electronic Product Code Information Services), a standard for capturing and sharing event-based data, effectively connected two or more traceability systems. The pilot also established that standards were necessary to identify products, entities, locations, critical tracking events and key data elements to support the interoperability of systems.
This pilot builds on a successful 2020 prototype that confirmed traceability solutions from FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, ripe.io and SAP can interoperate to transmit and exchange information about a product's journey throughout the supply chain when GS1 Standards are used. During the pilot, GS1 US worked with GDST and seafood industry trading partners to test the flow of existing standardized product data using the established prototype as extended for the seafood supply chain by the GDST 1.0 seafood standards.
"GS1 US remains committed to finding collaborative ways to solve the supply chain's most urgent challenges," said Melanie Nuce, senior vice president, corporate development, GS1 US. "This pilot shows not only that systems 'speak' to each other using standards, but also that industry collaboration is equally critical to define their conversation. With both key elements in place, we can create industry-wide transparency for seafood, and more broadly, enhance food safety."
"This pilot project has shown that the GDST standards — based heavily on GS1 EPCIS — can deliver the interoperability of traceability systems that is urgently needed across the seafood industry," said Bryan Hitchcock, executive director of the Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) for the IFT. "This positive result represents just the beginning of what industry can do when we prioritize collaboration and standardization to help companies meet new regulations, supply chain demands and consumer expectations."
Moving forward, the GS1 US team will continue to work with industry to understand traceability data requirements, evaluate the need for new technical standards or protocols required for interoperability and explore more advanced use cases.