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How Transparency Benefits the Global Seafood Supply Chain

This is Part 2 of our global seafood supply chain Transparency Trilogy. Check back on Friday for the last installment, as well as other food and beverage news!

In the first part of our trilogy, we talked about why the worldwide call for global seafood supply chain transparency has gotten louder and louder. Now we’re ready to talk about how transparency benefits the supply chain itself.

Spoiler alert: It just makes everything better!

Can a penny-pincher be proactive?

If asked, most seafood companies would probably say their intentions are good and they support a “do no harm” approach in their operations. They see themselves as guardians of a well-managed resource; indeed, they’d argue that it’s in their best interests to promote sustainability, legal fishing practices, environmental responsibility, and supply chain transparency. After all, if fish populations dwindle, they could be out of business.

Many companies have policies that require their buyers to verify (as much as possible) that the seafood they procure meets minimum standards for sustainability, safety, and quality. Such self-regulation is a good first step, but the reality is that enforcing these standards is tough. Very tough.

Lack of transparency in the supply chain is one reason for this. But given its overwhelming “pros,” why do seafood companies continue to view transparency as a cost rather than an investment? Sure, it takes money — sometimes a lot of money — to implement the systems, but there are compelling reasons for actors in the seafood industry to open their wallets and get on board with transparency in a digital supply chain.

The benefits of global seafood supply chain transparency: What stakeholders should know

From “catch to plate,” transparency benefits everybody in the seafood supply chain. Here’s how.

Suppliers. These are the processors and manufacturers. They benefit from transparency because it allows them to protect their business investments and comply with regulations. Suppliers can use transparency data to show their trading partners and consumers that they are doing things the right way, the responsible and sustainable way. Transparency also lets them control their supply chains more accurately and improves the quality of their product, also important selling points for partners and consumers.

Suppliers can also use transparency to build their brand reputations. For example, they can engage with consumers directly, using data to demonstrate that their products are sustainably sourced and legitimate, and that they are responsible corporate citizens. These are qualities that consumers will demand more, not less, as they have ever-expanding ways to verify what they’re buying and more options for where to spend their money.

Brands and distributors. Transparency lets brands and distributors know exactly what they’re purchasing, which will give them peace of mind about the origins, sustainability, and legitimacy of the products they offer. Furthermore, like suppliers, they can comply with regulations, such as the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP). Brands and distributors can also use transparency to build their reputations and solidify their relationships with customers. Being able to prove the who, what, when, where, how, and why of their products is a powerful tool for branding and communications.

Retailers, food service groups/providers, and consumers. High-quality products with traceable provenance give retailers and food service companies better control over their supply chains and more ways (i.e., data) to protect their brands. Like suppliers, brands, and distributors, they’ll be able to entice customers and secure their loyalty.

At the very end of the supply chain, it’s consumers who stand to gain the most from transparency. They’ll know where their seafood comes from. They’ll know it’s safe, and they’ll feel good about being responsible shoppers. And as transparency really becomes the norm, they’ll be inclined to purchase only products that can prove provenance, and only from companies that can prove they are “doing the right thing” when it comes to the global seafood supply chain.

Final thoughts about global seafood supply chain transparency

rfxcel is part of the transparency solution. If you read our last blog about transparency in the global seafood supply chain, you’ve seen that our solutions optimize traceability, transparency, efficiency, and quality so supply chain stakeholders and consumers alike can reap the benefits.

For seafood and all other F&B supply chains, the latest version of our signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) is the most complete and flexible raw materials and finished goods traceability solution for the industry. Our rfxcel MobileTraceability app can track any batch, movement, and handler at any location, putting the power of a digital supply chain at your fingertips. And with our rfxcel Integrated Monitoring (rIM) solution, supply chain actors can see their products in real time and mine rich unit-level data about more than a dozen environmental conditions.

Learn more about these and our other solutions for F&B here.


FDA Asks for All Ranitidine Products (Zantac) to Be Removed from the Market

On April 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that manufacturers immediately withdraw from the market all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine drugs, commonly known by the brand name Zantac. As a result, ranitidine products will not be available for new or existing prescriptions or OTC use in the United States.

Ranitidine is widely used to treat and prevent heartburn. It can also treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, and conditions that cause too much stomach acid. As a generic drug, it’s sold primarily to decrease production of stomach acid.

As early as September 19, 2019, the FDA alerted patients and healthcare professionals that a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), suspected to be a human carcinogen, had been found in samples of ranitidine. Since then, the agency has released more than 15 announcements about its investigation into the contamination, several of which called for limited voluntary recalls and culminated in the April 1 request that all ranitidine be removed from the market.

What the FDA testing revealed about Zantac/ranitidine

According to the FDA, the NDMA levels in some ranitidine products increases over time. Furthermore, when the products are stored at higher-than-room temperatures, it could “result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of the impurity.” Although the agency didn’t find unacceptable levels of NDMA in many of the samples that were tested, it decided to issue the request because it couldn’t verify under what conditions medications had been stored.

The FDA’s initial tests found low levels of NDMA in ranitidine. Low levels of NDMA can be found in foods and in water but are not expected to increase the risk of cancer; however, sustained higher levels of exposure may increase the risk. More recent testing confirmed the following:

    • NDMA levels increase in ranitidine even under normal storage conditions.
    • NDMA has been found to increase significantly in samples stored at higher temperatures, including temperatures products may be exposed to during distribution and handling by consumers.
    • The older a ranitidine product is, the greater the level of NDMA.
    • These conditions may increase the level of NDMA in ranitidine products above the acceptable daily intake limit.

What consumers should do if they’re taking Zantac/ranitidine and/or have it in their home

In addition requesting that manufacturers withdraw ranitidine products from the market, the FDA advises that consumers stop taking any OTC ranitidine tablets or liquid they have at home, dispose of them properly, and not buy more. People who want to continue treating their condition should use other approved OTC products. Patients taking prescription ranitidine should consult their doctors about other options before stopping the medicine.

There are several drugs approved for the same or similar uses as Zantac/ranitidine that do not have the same NDMA risk. To date, FDA testing has not found NDMA in famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec).

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA asks that patients and consumers do not take their medicines to a drug take-back location; instead, they should follow disposal instructions included with their medication or follow the agency’s guidance for safe home disposal.

rfxcel’s Integrated Monitoring (rIM) solution monitors temperature and other environmental factors, safeguarding products in the supply chain

Our award-winning rIM solution uses Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor the environmental condition of products in real time as they move through supply chains on land, sea, and air. It is widely used in pharmaceutical cold chains to monitor medical supplies, including vaccines.

rIM communicates with small IoT-enabled devices embedded with products and sends updates and alerts about more than a dozen environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, light, orientation (tilt), and shock. It also monitors location, so it can alert users about route diversions and ensure logistics providers remain in compliance with delivery agreements. It can monitor at both the top level (e.g., case, pallet, truck) and the item level (e.g., syringe, packet, bottle), yielding true supply chain traceability and transparency.

Our CEO, Glenn Abood, was compelled to start rfxcel 17 years ago when he realized that consumers didn’t have a way to check the authenticity of their prescription drugs. Click here to learn more about rIM and our other solutions for the life sciences, all of which safeguard the pharma supply chain and protect consumers from potentially harmful products.