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Blockchain will allow salmon to be tracked from sea to dinner plate

With a new blockchain initiative from top exporter Norway, consumers around the world will soon be able to get to know intricate life details of the salmon they eat.

Blockchain will allow salmon to be tracked from sea to dinner plate

With a new blockchain initiative from top exporter Norway, consumers around the world will soon be able to get to know the intricate life details of the salmon they eat.

The Norwegian Seafood Association has collaborated with International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and technology provider Atea ASA to collect data on how salmon are bred, processed, and delivered, which can ultimately be accessed by customers by scanning a QR code. This will help manufacturers in Norway distinguish their quality goods from other exporters, curb fraud in origin, and reduce waste.

“Blockchain lets us share the journey of the fish from the ocean to the dinner table,” Alf-Goran Knutsen

 

said Alf-Goran Knutsen, CEO of Kvaroy Arctic, a supplier that is part of the initiative. “This is more opportune now than ever.”

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As consumers increasingly want to know what’s in their food and how it’s produced, blockchain has helped retailers ensure that products from chicken to pasta don’t get tainted or passed off as something else. But fish were harder to trace, making it particularly vulnerable to fraud. Oceana Advocacy Group estimated one in five samples of seafood is mislabeled.

Blockchain will allow salmon to be tracked from sea to dinner plate

Although Norway has more stringent rules than other producers on how it handles salmon, global fisheries have been mired in controversy from antibiotic use to fish feed sustainability. According to Espen Braathe, an executive at IBM Food Trust Europe, using blockchain to monitor the life story of a fish will help Norway’s producers safeguard their reputation and stop inferior products being fake as Norwegian.

“It’s really important when you’re selling a fresh, clean product that you produce as much evidence as possible,” Braathe

 

Braathe said in an interview.

The project, which is the first to cover the entire salmon supply chain, will go live by the end of September and monitor trout as well. Atea CEO Steinar Sonsteby said sensors and cameras will record details such as water temperature and what the fish are being fed.

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The initiative, which will later extend to wild catches, will allow Norwegian farmers to get better prices for their fish, said Norwegian Seafood Association CEO, Robert Eriksson. By 2025, according to IBM, the target is for each member to trace as much as 40 percent of their fish population.

Concerns over the connection between food and recent cases of coronavirus in China show how blockchain might ease such worries, Sonsteby said. The new outbreak was blamed on imported salmon, and fears that food could transmit viruses had led to salmon being boycotted in China, although experts said that there was no evidence that the fish was the origin or intermediate host.

“It really shows quite well how a solution like this might work to instill trust in the supply chain and the industry,” Sonsteby

 

Sonsteby said. For retailers in general,

“they want to be 100 percent sure that they can be 100 percent behind what they purchase and sell on.” Sonsteby

 

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