Thai Union Group-owned Chicken of the Sea International has launched a “digital traceability initiative” that allows consumers to trace the source, processing location and fishing method of some of its US seafood brands.

San Diego-based Chicken of the Sea said yesterday (12 September) the move, which currently includes all of its shelf-stable tuna products, is part of the group’s “commitment to seafood sustainability” and will soon be expanded to the entire Chicken of the Sea shelf-stable product line.

Ten to 15-digit numbers displayed on the company’s cans of Chunk Light, Chunk Light Albacore and Solid White Albacore tuna –  in 3oz., 5oz., 7oz. and 12oz varieties – can be entered onto a dedicated section of Chicken of the Seas web site to find the answers to seven preset questions including: ‘Where Was My Seafood Caught?’  The answer to that question is accompanied by a world map showing the area where the tuna or other seafood was caught, “and a link to a species-specific stock status report from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation”, the company said.

Using the number codes, consumers can also find out what fishing method was used for the product and how the product was processed.

Chicken of the Sea’s sustainability director Jennifer Woofter said: “It is important for our customers to have an opportunity to know the story behind their fish – where it came from, how it was caught, where it was canned and how the process fits within our sustainability programme.”

Woofter said traceability “is an essential step in the responsible sourcing and sustainability process and we are excited to make this development available to our customers”.

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By GlobalData

The new initiative comes after Thai Union accused Greenpeace of “undermining” its efforts to boost sustainability and improve practices in the global seafood industry. The group hit out last month after a Greenpeace report – Sea of Distress – called on US retailers in particular to stop stocking products from a number of companies who the campaign group claimed are responsible for “human rights abuses” and irresponsible fishing practices.

Last July, Tesco said it would remove some of the Thai Union-owned John West tuna products from its shelves in the UK because the group had failed to meet the retailer’s sustainability standards.