Canned Fish Maker John West Plunges into Supply Chain Transparency

Canned Fish Maker John West Plunges into Supply Chain Transparency

If you have wondered who caught the tuna in your sandwich or the salmon in your salad, you will be able to find out next week, when John West launches an app to boost its supply chain transparency.

The canned fish manufacturer will launch an online barcode tracker on Monday, enabling consumers to find the ocean in which their fish was caught and the boat that made the catch, just by entering a code found on the top of the tin.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, John West managing director Paul Reenan said that the company has tracked its supply chain for a decade, but that this will be the first time consumers will be able to freely access the information.

"We've had systems for several years in order to comply with E.U. legislation," he said. "All our practices have been best in class for 10 years but we felt it was time to make it as public as we can because food safety and transparency is paramount to confidence."

Reenan added that technology has been a key factor in enabling the company to track produce from ship to shop.

John West uses bespoke software developed in-house for the tracker. As soon as each fish is landed, it is assigned a unique vessel code, which is inputted into the system.

The company claims it can secure the information required to deliver full chain traceability because it owns all of its fisheries and factories.

"We have had transparency in beef and poultry, and now my challenge is to have it in fish," Reenan said.

Fish firms have been under pressure to improve their practices and offer greater product traceability after TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's January 2011 programme Hugh's Fish Fight highlighted the "unsustainable" discarding of unwanted catch.

This article originally appeared on BusinessGreen.