Trace Register and Wholechain announced a development for the seafood industry: interoperability between two different traceability systems based on Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) compatibility standards. These collaborative efforts are an advance in the industry’s ability to meet regulatory compliance, including the needs of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Rule 204, according to the  companies. Improved traceability also helps to fulfill increasing consumer demands for end-to-end traceability.

“Interoperability is like email,” says Jayson Berryhill, cofounder of Wholechain. “You don't ask someone which email provider they use, and you aren't forced to maintain multiple email accounts so that you can send an email to each of your friends using different providers. You just send an email, and without knowing it, you see interoperability standards at work (yes, Gmail, Outlook and others use a common standard). In the seafood industry, that common standard is GDST. GDST enables suppliers to seamlessly send data to their buyers using the GDST-enabled traceability system of their choice.”

Working with GDST and other industry stakeholders, Trace Register and Wholechain collaborated in the development of the standards. However, the two competitors say they have gone further by elevating efforts to implementation. They implemented an extension of GDST standards using GS1’s EPCIS capture interface to make GDST compatibility more practical between suppliers and buyers. The success of this development has led GDST to incorporate the EPCIS capture interface method as an official supplement to their standards.

The integration achieved through this collaboration facilitates a two-way exchange of information. Examples include Trace Register customers shipping to a Wholechain customer, a privately held supermarket chain in the U.S. Likewise, Wholechain customers can ship to a Trace Register client, another player in the supermarket industry. The automatic GDST data transmission eliminates the need for manual keying and safeguards against losing critical GDST data points. It also exemplifies the power of collaboration and interoperability in advancing seafood traceability.

“These collaborative efforts toward interoperability initiated by GDST mark significant progress in meeting regulatory compliance, whether SIMP or FSMA 204,” says Heath England, president of Trace Register. “Interoperability greatly reduces or even eliminates portal fatigue. When systems can seamlessly 'talk' to one another, then suppliers, producers, supermarkets and distributors can each use a system that fits them best while having confidence that they can send and receive data regardless of what system their partners are using.”