Securing the niche of ASEAN fishery products in the global market: Traceability system for ASEAN aquaculture products
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The Codex Alimentarius Commission defines traceability or product tracing as 'the ability to follow the movement of a food through specified stage(s) of production, processing and distribution'. In an increasingly complex food system, traceability has become the major tool to deal with issues/problems associated with food safety and quality assurance, thus allowing business to prevent risk and gain consumer trust. Meanwhile, the strengthened ties between countries across the globe encourage and facilitate bilateral trade, and it is not uncommon for food to travel thousands of miles to reach a market. In food trade, records of traceability are used as proof of compliance to food safety, bio-security and regulatory requirements, and ensure that quality and other contractual requirements are fulfilled. Thus, it is imperative that traceability of food products should be strengthened to support food safety worldwide. In a situation of a food recall, robust traceability systems allow efficient tracing of affected products throughout the supply chain. Traceability has also been used in the aquaculture supply chain to ensure the safety and quality of aquatic organisms, and to verify that such organisms are farmed in compliance with national or international management requirements or meet national security and public safety objectives. In order to enhance the competitiveness of the Southeast Asian region's fish and fishery products, as well as facilitate trade with major importing countries, e.g. the United States of America, the European Union as well as Japan, traceability has become a vital tool and requirement for necessary market penetration and securing the niche of the region's fish and fishery products in the world market.