- On average, one in five of 25,000 globally-sourced seafood samples studied was mislabeled, according to a new Oceana report.
- After reviewing more than 200 published studies from 55 countries, researchers found that mislabeling was pervasive throughout the supply chain, including retail, wholesale, distribution, import and export, packaging and processing, and landing.
- In more than half (58%) of the cases of a mislabeled fish studied, the substituted seafood was a species that is risky for consumers to eat.
Such rampant fraud should concern manufacturers just as much as consumers who eat the end products. Companies that unknowingly manufacture products containing mislabeled fish — or any other ingredient — and then have to recall the products could suffer the same costs and reputational damage as the company that actually caught and distributed the mislabeled ingredient.
To alleviate these concerns, manufacturers can ensure better transparency not only in their own operations but those across their supply chain, also known as whole chain traceability. Supplier visibility is critical to improving traceability, which helps manufacturers identify problem areas and resolve recall issues faster.
The longer recalls drag on, the more costly they are to the brand, its bottom line and future sales, as companies like General Mills and a mysterious sugar supplier already know. But improved traceability from beginning to end of the supply chain offers manufacturers peace of mind and the ability to be more transparent with consumers.
How to share ingredient, supplier and processing information transparently is the next challenge. Web-based platforms like SmartLabel, which is accessible via scanning a QR code with a smart device, offer manufacturers more real estate to share supply chain information. This enables companies to appear more genuine to consumers and to stand out from competitors that are less opaque about their business practices.