New FDA Requirements for Seafood Traceability
Seafood Traceability Requirements
Retailers, restaurants, and consumers have been very frustrated with the fraud and mislabeling of fish and seafood across the USA. A global review of seafood fraud studies around the world found one in five of more than 25,000 samples of seafood tested worldwide was mislabeled. In a bid to restore some consumer confidence back to the seafood industry, in November 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new ruling with respect to seafood traceability.
Key Data Elements & Critical Tracking Events
The list includes most kinds of seafood. The final rule is a requirement that persons who manufacture, process, pack or hold food on the Food Traceability List (FTL), must maintain records that include Key Data Elements (KDEs) related to Critical Tracking Events (CTEs). Seafood producers that qualify under these rules will be required to provide information to the FDA within 24 hours or otherwise some reasonable timeframe to which the FDA agrees.
Time is running out for Food and Beverage companies, including fish and seafood processing plants, to build the automated infrastructure to support capturing such traceability information required under the new FDA rules. Food companies need to look for a proven solution like Emydex to support these new traceability requirements.
Fish & Seafood Processing
The FDA has aggressive deadlines, few exceptions, and no phase-in. The proposed rule would make compliance using paper-based systems nearly impossible. These rules apply to both domestic and imported fish, thus requiring all exporting countries like Canada, Europe, and UK to comply with these rules or be barred from trading in the USA. The USA currently imports up to 85% of its seafood, according to NOAA Fisheries.
To ensure the required traceability information is shared across all supply chain entities, the best way to implement the rule is for all persons to have completed the implementation of the rules by January 20, 2026. Although companies might think 2026 is a long way away, it can take up to 2 or more years to select and implement an automated solution to capture the traceability information to enable food processing software companies to be able to generate the traceability reporting within 24 hours.
End to End Traceability
Emydex provides the solution for effective and efficient tracing of the harvesting of fish or seafood from the vessel on the sea or farms, through receiving at the ports, to transfers to storage in cold stores or a processing plant, following the production process, the distribution and finally receipt at a retailer or other value add processors.
Vessel Labeling & Payments
Landing and Transfer to Plant
Picking & Delivery
Emydex captures the data along the supply chain through the use of traceability barcode lot codes applied to containers, to monitor the flow of products in different forms through the supply chain, using scanners connected to the Emydex system. The traceability barcodes share information as the product flows to different entities along the supply chain. The barcode lot labels comply with the global GS1 standards to ensure the barcodes are readable across the supply chain and globally around the world.
How Does Emydex Enable You To Be Compliant?
Emydex provides a proven manufacturing execution system (MES) for the fish and seafood industry. Operating in over 25 factories, covering a wide range of products, the Emydex system covers all processes from boat labeling, landing, primary, secondary and further processing. Not only can factories that choose to implement Emydex MES ensure they are compliant with the upcoming FDA requirements, but they can also leverage Emydex to enable automation, have real-time inventory on all stock, and manage yields from door to door.
These automated solutions take time to implement, so with the FDA compliance as of Jan. 2026, Fish Processing and other Food Processing Companies need to start now.
For more information on an Emydex Traceability solutions for Fish & Seafood processors read ...
Meliomar Inc. is a tuna and seafood processing and export company based in Manila. Their Emydex factory floor traceability reporting system first went live in 2018.