Ireland: Seafood seminar focuses on traceability –

Ireland: Seafood seminar focuses on traceability Published:  08 June, 2007

THE issue of automation of traceability systems for the Irish seafood industry and their application as management tools were the core themes of a one-day workshop held in Dublin this week.

Almost forty representatives from a variety of Irish seafood companies gathered to hear how seafood businesses could further develop their traceability systems to ensure maximum benefit. In addition ten hardware and software solution providers exhibited their wares and services, with one company travelling from Israel to exhibit at the event.

Under European Union Regulation 178/2002, since 2005, all those involved in the processing, manufacture and distribution of food, including seafood, must have a traceability system in place, commonly referred to as ‘one-up, one-down’ traceability, to identify the origin and destination of their food products or ingredients.

The workshop highlighted the requirements, technology options, advantages and disadvantages of traceability automation for the seafood industry and explored the potential of automated systems as integrated management tools, providing information on stocks, yields and other aspects of business.

Currently many seafood producers are operating paper-based or semi automated traceability systems. The objective of the workshop was to explore the possible benefits and capture the opportunities that exist through automation.

Speaking at the event, BIM Quality and Technology Executive, Tom Scanlon, said, “The issue of food traceability is no longer a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘must have’ for companies operating in the seafood sector. It is an issue that simply can’t be ignored and on the contrary should be used to our advantage as a key component in demonstrating product quality and safety.”

Tom Jones from Union Hall Fishermen’s Company and Noel Carr from the William Carr Group shared their experiences of automating traceability, while Donal Cousins of FSAI provided an overview of the relevant legislation and feedback on recent traceability audits of seafood companies. Mark Setterfield of the Grimsby Institute of Higher Education and Denis Coleman of GS1 Ireland provided further talks on the technologies involved.

An interactive exercise designed to get people thinking about automation systems in the context of their own operations revealed that the fear of buying unsuitable hardware and/or software is the barrier preventing many companies from automating.

In a closing address, Mr Scanlon said that the workshop had highlighted a need for impartial guidance in this area and suggested that BIM, in conjunction with GS1, technical solution providers and seafood industry producer organisations, should come together as a working group to explore this issue further.

The seminar was delivered by BIM, in conjunction with GS1 Ireland and with the support of Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Food Safety Authority (FSAI). is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.