Global Food Traceability Center Issues Recommendations Guiding Development of Interoperable Seafood Traceability Technology Architecture

February 25, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumers are placing greater expectations on the ability to verify the authenticity, value, sustainability, quality and safety of the seafood they choose to consume which makes traceability vital for the seafood industry. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Global Food Traceability Center outlines in detail the issues businesses in the seafood industry will need to tackle in order to achieve an interoperable seafood traceability technology architecture in the March issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.

“As we dug deeper into the issues preventing the interoperability of food traceability systems, we realized that this was not a technical barrier. It was a problem with people, products, process, and politics,” said Tejas Bhatt, Director of the Global Food Traceability Center and one of the authors of the Issues Brief.
“Interoperability has already been achieved in other sectors like telecommunications and finance – this Issues Brief summarizes what we can learn from the mistakes and successes of these other sectors to accelerate and catalyze the development of interoperable standards for enabling global food traceability.”

Bhatt and his team identified a wide range of practices used by the seafood industry as well as more standardized practices used by other industries that are global leaders in developing traceability systems. The industries they looked at included automotive, fresh produce, pharmaceuticals, and finance.
What they found was that the seafood industry is evolving particularly in the role of information. The research also identified key gaps, needs, and challenges for the industry, both within firms and along supply chain.

The paper lays a foundation for the research and collaboration needed to start a global dialogue on the issue of interoperability in the food industry. A global team of experts have been assembled to develop the draft technical specifications for a blueprint of an interoperable traceability architecture based on the findings outlined in the Issues Brief. Over the next year, GFTC will be conducting significant stakeholder outreach through regional consultation events to increase awareness, strengthen coordination and build implementation capacity for improved traceability.

In September 2013, IFT launched the GFTC, a science-based, not-for-profit public-private partnership. It brings together key stakeholders in the food system to collaborate on traceability solutions and serves as an authoritative source about food traceability. It assists companies and government agencies to better understand the nature of food traceability requirements, to improve responsiveness and reliability in the event of food-related emergencies, and to increase the value and commercial benefits of food traceability.

To read the issues brief in its entirety, please visit

For more information on the Global Food Traceability Center, please visit

About IFT
Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. Our non-profit scientific society—more than 17,000 members from more than 95 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit

 About the Global Food Traceability Center
The GFTC is a public-private partnership program within IFT that was created for the express purpose of being the global resource and authoritative voice on food traceability.  Its mission is to serve all parts of the food system (from farm to fork) by providing applied research, objective advice, and practical expertise about data collaboration and food product traceability for the purposes of business benefit and public good. For more information, please visit