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Sustainable Shrimp Partnership launches blockchain traceability app using IBM Food Trust


The Ecuador-based Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) has launched a blockchain food traceability platform targeted at shrimp consumers. The solution is linked to IBM Food Trust. 

The application enables consumers to access key information about the shrimp’s journey, including where, when, who and how the seafood was farmed. Consumers can access the data through the scan of a QR code stamped in each SSP Blue Box shrimp package.

The data is entered on IBM Food Trust by SSP members. Three Ecuador-based responsible shrimp producers are currently using the platform: Omarsa, Songa, and Promarisco-Grupo Nueva Pescanova. 

The shrimp industry accounts for over five million tons of product per year, and food fraud is not uncommon. SSP members practice sustainable farming of shrimp, which results in higher production costs. Implementing the IBM Food Trust platform will enhance the final product’s value enabling producers to recoup some of that cost. Plus, it enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions, and hence the application has the potential to stimulate consumer support for ethical farming practices. 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) sits on the SSP Advisory Board. “With the complexity of current global food supply chains, visibility into where and how food is produced is necessary to understand the impacts on people and nature,” said Blake Harris of the WWF. In Australia, the WWF is involved in another traceability blockchain, the OpenSC, which has partnered with Nestlé and Austral Fisheries.

IBM Food Trust also helps with food safety by verifying that the shrimp is antibiotic-free, ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certified and has a neutral impact on the environment. This is a key aspect to ensure transparency in shrimp responsible farming because price competition has led to unethical production practices and the excessive use of antibiotics in the industry.

SSP shrimp was the first shrimp organization to join the IBM Food Trust network over two years ago. Initially, shrimp retailers could only access the platform’s data, but the organization already had plans to launch a consumer-focused app. 

Meanwhile, IBM Food Trust is involved with an array of seafood products. The initiative partnered with the Norwegian Seafood Association five months ago for traceability in the seafood supply chain. It also has a partnership, among others, with Raw Seafoods and the National Fisheries Institute.

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