Since its inception, the IFT Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) has been working with industry partners to elevate understanding of the value and importance of tracking and tracing food. Nearly three years of technical work and stakeholder engagement with the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST)—a major industry forum involving more than five dozen companies worldwide from across the seafood supply chain—culminated this week with the release of the first-ever global standards for tracking seafood products from point of origin to point of sale.
The release of GDST Standards and Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems, Version 1.0—commonly referred to as GDST 1.0—represents a watershed moment that creates many new opportunities for sustainable seafood. The standards lay the foundation to allow for greater transparency around how we fish and farm seafood and are a critical step forward in the fight against illegal fishing and unethical labor practices. Interoperability enables digital traceability solutions to compete on usability and value to seafood companies. Perhaps most exciting—they are changing the game for an industry under increasing pressure to demonstrate its compliance with high standards for ethical sourcing.
Now that the standards are available, the next step is implementation. Seafood companies and retailers have a range of options to choose from when it comes to setting up a traceability system. GDST 1.0 provides the key elements, tools, and examples for those systems to work together across supply chains so businesses, governments, and researchers will have access to information to improve business practices, laws, and science.
There is no denying that GDST 1.0 could catalyze an extraordinary shift in how the business of seafood is conducted, but this is only the first step. For more information about the role of seafood sourcing partners in the implementation of the standards, the push from governments to improve traceability, and what’s next, check out Industry Just Released New Standards That Could Help Save The Ocean on the World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works blog.
Bryan Hitchcock, Senior Director, Food Chain & Global Food Traceability Center, IFT
Thomas Burke, Food Traceability and Safety Scientist, Global Food Traceability Center, IFT
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