Food Traceability from QR Codes

An episode of Portlandia had a scene where a couple wants to know exactly where their meal is coming from—Is it local? Is it organic? USDA organic, Oregon organic, or Portland organic? Are the hazelnuts the chicken is fed organic? And just how big is the area where the birds roam free? The server is happy to answer their questions by providing a folder of information, complete with a photo of the chicken, named Colin. This still did not satisfy their needs, so they asked the server to hold their table while they took a trip to visit the farm where Colin came from.

While this is a parody of foodie culture, Black Restraunt Group saw it as an opportunity. They recently teamed up with Congressional Seafood, one of their main fish suppliers, to launch a traceability program that would allow diners and shoppers to get more information on their food. Customers will even be able to see photos and names of the fisherman, where the fish were harvested, what gear was used and a description on the taste.

In order to achieve this, QR codes will take customers to web pages with all of the fish facts. It took approximately five months to gather all of the information about their fish, farmers and fisherman, collecting photos and videos throughout the process.

Customers don’t want to be tricked into believing something is organic when its not, so information is power. In addition to providing the customer with information, The Safety and Fraud Enforcement (SAFE) for Seafood Act, proposed by congress earlier this year, would require vendors to specify the seafood’s scientific and market names, as well as whether it was previously frozen or treated with any substance. The bill calls for businesses to make clear how, when and where their fish was caught or if it was farm-raised.

If passed, the bill would greatly affect how businesses track their food traceability.

Watch the clip of Portlandia below, and learn more about food traceability.