During the last 5 years SINTEF and Nofima has develloped a research relations with the Japanese institutions Food Market Research Center and National Research Institute of Fisheries Science withing food safety and traceability.
In Japan food quality and food safety are of high importance, and the management system is well developed. However, during the last years there have been several food scandals. Presently there is a focus on food imported from China. This situation is a major concern especially a mong importers, retailers and restaurants.
In the beginning of 2008 the company Kouzai Bussan Co. found traces of the pesticide dichlorvos in an imported mackerel product. Initially the mackerel was caught and frozen in Denmark and later sliced and mar inated in China. The company that already has sold 73000 packages of the contaminated product, now has to try to withdraw the remaining units from the retail market. In order to build trust Kouzai Bussan Co. has also decided to recall 18 other products wh ich are imported from the same Chinese manufacturer.
This incident shows that both good inspection routines and surgical traceability systems may identify and isolate contaminated products effectively and aid companies in a recall process. Hence, implem entation of electronic chain traceability systems would build trust into Norwegian food products sold to Japan and increase competitiveness of companies involved.
The planned research project aims at develop, test and measure the effect of such a tailor made traceability system with functionality for recording and sharing of food safety related information in the mackerel food chain. The project also entails research on application of analytical methods for verification of relevant traceability data ( freshness, fresh vs. frozen, species).