BlueTrace Blog

2 min read

Best Practices for Protecting North American Oysters from OsHV-1

By Call Nichols on May 10, 2022 6:56:01 PM

With the resumption of shellfish trade with the EU, the U.S. oyster industry is rightfully concerned about the introduction of OsHV-1 into our waters. Although this virus does not affect humans, it has been linked to mass oyster mortalities all across the world. Not every imported oyster is carrying the virus, but they all must be treated as such since we can’t know which ones are carriers, and the stakes are just too high.

The threat is very real, but it’s manageable with knowledge and vigilance. Best practices in general should be that if you aren't sure where your oysters came from, keep them and their shells out of the water. Domestic pathogens can be circulated in similar ways, so it’s better to err on the side of caution.

The only way an issue could arise is if tainted oysters or their shells make it into (or near) the water. Here are some realistic scenarios that must be avoided:

  • After enjoying the oysters, somebody tosses the shells into the water.
  • Somebody buys oysters and hangs them off their dock to "refresh" them.
  • A dealer holds oysters in a wet storage or depuration system that drains into the water.
  • Oysters get mixed up and get put out on a beach.

IMG_0297

Each of these situations is avoidable, but the industry and the public need to be aware of the threat. Shellfish from New Zealand and South Korea should be treated similarly, as they may also carry the virus. 

Bottom line: If you don't know where the oysters came from, keep them (and their shells) out of the water!

Shellfish harvesters and dealers, please see and distribute this letter penned on behalf of the major regional associations. The East Coast Shellfish Growers Association has also compiled useful resources for industry and the public at ecsga.org/oshv. In addition, the ECSGA is also offering FREE informational tags to anyone dealing in imported oysters. These are an important tool in minimizing the risk of tainted oysters affecting our local stocks and industries. If you would like a stack of the tags, please reach out to your BlueTrace rep, and we'll make sure you're flush.

The OsHV-1 threat makes yet another case for a robust traceability system. Knowing where imported product ends up is critical for consumer awareness and proper handling practices. And in the unlikely event of an introduction, we will definitely want to know where the oysters went in order to identify and isolate the danger as soon as possible.

Keep on shuckin'!

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2 min read

Anatomy of an Oyster Recall

By Chip Terry on Apr 11, 2022 3:51:20 PM

Oysters are a safe food, and very few people get sick from eating them. When something bad does happen, though, news stories get out of control, and the whole industry is harmed. A recent oyster recall in British Columbia illustrates the challenges. Here is what we know so far (this is an ongoing story, so more details will likely emerge):

1) On Sunday, March 20, 2022, the Canadian Government found norovirus in oysters from BC and issued the first of what became a series of six overlapping recalls on oysters. The majority of the product was harvested between March 7 and March 14.    

2) Many of the oysters were shipped well beyond BC, including to distributors in Washington state and California. Washington issued a health advisory for specific BC oysters on Friday, April 1 — 13 days after the first BC recall notice. California issued a recall on Sunday, April 3 — 16 days after the first BC recall.  34 people in California got sick from the BC oysters by the time of the advisory in CA.

3) By April 1, media stories begin to appear in Washington, Florida, Massachusetts, California, New York, and elsewhere about people getting sick.

4) Meanwhile, we heard from our distributor clients who were working hard to track these oysters and get them out of the system. One client even had to call its trucks in NYC to stop delivery of these specific oysters.

5) Food Safety News (written by a leading food safety attorney) reports on Thursday April 7th that over 103 people in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington are confirmed sick from this particular batch of oysters.  

6) Meanwhile back in BC, major farms are shut down (probably for 2+ months) and are suffering huge financial losses.  While the CFIA reports 328 illnesses from this norovirus outbreak across Canada, including in: British Columbia (293), Alberta (3), Saskatchewan (1), Manitoba (15) and Ontario (16).

My takeaways:

1) Good people worked really hard to make sure this didn't get worse. Distributors and regulators spent hundreds of hours trying to get this product out of the system.  So far, there are no deaths reported--a huge win. 

2) The recalls were too manual and slow--there should have been a more automated system for making sure different jurisdictions acted more quickly. 

3) The liability risk is probably large. I'm no lawyer, but clearly everyone is concerned about lawsuits.  

4) The entire industry is the loser:  We have heard anecdotal stories of folks avoiding all oysters after coming across the stories circulating.  

There are a lot of ways this process could be improved, including better/faster communications and a true digital traceability chain. The regulators in the U.S. should have been able to issue faster recalls/advisories. Thirteen days was too long.

A farmer or distributor with a recall should be able to notify all their buyers with a couple of keystrokes. And restaurants should be able to scan a QR code and confirm there are no recalls prior to serving that product.  

Nothing will ever be foolproof, but we can do better, and there is a clear path to improvement. 

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6 min read

Countering NIMBYism with Chris Matteo of Chadwick Creek Oysters

By Chip Terry on Mar 8, 2022 2:31:30 PM

 

Dock overlooking the Bay River.

Below is a letter to the editor of Carteret County News-Times in North Carolina from Chris Matteo of Chadwick Creek Oysters.  Chris is writing in response to a classic NIMBY article. A retired judge moved to town and wanted to "protect" his view by telling the locals what they could do.  Chris' response is thoughtful and deserves a wide audience.  Thank you Chris.

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March 2, 2022

I am Chris Matteo, current president of North Carolina’s Shellfish Growers Association. I am not a retired district judge, but I am an oyster farmer with an Ivy League education (one of two in our state) and this evening I’m here to help you learn something new, Mr. Bentley. My background is not in law, but in finance and entrepreneurship. I used to invest money for large institutional clients, including pension funds, university endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. I understand a bit about economics. I too came here from somewhere else, yet I have earned the respect of many locals. I am asking the citizens and visitors of North Carolina to not fall prey to the hyperbole and fearmongering you have so generously supplied.

First off, oyster farming is not an unthinkable interference for boating and fishing. In fact, we have the support of recreational and commercial fishing organizations in North Carolina, as well as almost all environmental non-profits and universities. Wild oyster populations sit near 5% of historic levels. Educated people understand that without oysters, you have fewer fish and lower water quality. Oysters are a keystone species. Most aquatic species depend on the humble oyster. Heavily populated areas like Indian Beach are most vulnerable to water quality issues in their bordering estuaries because of developmental impacts. We (oyster farmers) are actually enhancing and restoring the ecological treasure of which you speak. You’re welcome.

Calling coastal North Carolina an economic miracle is a bit of a stretch. Yes, tourism in the Outer Banks is an impressive revenue generator. Those tourists/visitors can’t seem to get enough of the wonderful oysters grown locally. Just because one retires to coastal NC and lives off savings or a pension does not mean everyone lives that way. Home price appreciation recently has been impressive also. It’s not due to any economic miracles. It also prices locals out of their home markets.

The first item you mention on your list of reasons to move to coastal North Carolina is “good food.” Let’s focus on that one, since oysters are arguably the “greenest” and most sustainable form of protein production on Earth. Growing oysters is a regenerative farming practice that improves the environment, as shellfish filter our estuaries. Oysters have a negative carbon footprint. Gram for gram, oysters are the most micronutrient-dense food on the planet, second only to beef liver. Not only are oysters nutrient-dense, they are full of vitamins and minerals in which Americans are most deficient, namely Zinc, Iron, and Vitamin D. Oysters contain all three major classes of omega-3s: ALA, DHA, and EPA and fall within the top-ten most omega-3-rich sources of popular seafood, with about as much omega-3 as swordfish and bass, but with significantly less mercury. For a country that is overfed and undernourished, and a world that’s experiencing a crisis in ocean health and marine pollution, oysters are one of the best crops you can grow. Did I mention they are delicious?

You say that oyster farms in this state could possibly take up “thousands of water acres.” That would be wonderful! Back of the envelope, there are 1,900 square miles (1,216,000 acres) of water contained within North Carolina estuaries. If we grew our industry to 10x where it is today and farmed 10,000 acres, we would be using less than 1% of our estuary to filter the remaining 99%. Water quality and fishing would return to levels not seen since the early 1800’s. So you know, one adult oyster filters up to 50 gallons of water per day.

Everyone consumes what farmers produce, yet many folks complain about what farming looks like. Some people think oyster farms are beautiful. Most are below the surface, and very little protrudes from the water column. Nearby oyster farmers may view your house, your boat, or your dock as visual pollution. Those items certainly take away more from a natural landscape that an oyster farm. If one buys a piece land that is surrounded by acreage that one did not purchase and then someone builds a farm next door, one’s view changes. C'est la vie. There’s always Alaska.

Just for the record, no oyster farm anywhere generates “sewerage (sp)”, even when spelled correctly. Oysters are often consumed raw and fecal coliform bacteria from development runoff and wildlife is monitored by the Shellfish Sanitation Division of DEQ. If it rains a half inch in some densely populated locations, oyster farms become polluted temporarily because of what is coming from developed land. So while you and others complain about visual “pollution”, we as an industry suffer from actual pollution.

Also for the record, most obstructions and storm debris that end up in our estuaries post-hurricane come from boats that have come untethered, poorly constructed docks, and the junk most people keep in the flood zone under their homes and around their property. If our grow-out gear leaves our leases after a storm, we are very eager to get it back. Our livelihood depends on that gear and the oysters inside. How many people that you know who own houses in a flood zone track down the debris that leaves their property and ends up in our estuary? How many recreational fisherman you know dive overboard to retrieve a lure that snapped off a line? I’m guessing that if you multiply those two numbers together, you get 0.

No oyster farmer is wanting to ruin a sunset view. In fact, we love them too. But here’s the thing… you don’t own the viewshed. You don’t even lease it. In fact, the shellfish industry made a good faith effort to negotiate some parameters with DCM for floating structures before that effort was blown up by ignorant NIMBY folks. At any time, an oyster farmer could have simply purchased an old rusty barge of any size and anchored it on ones’ lease and conducted farming activities aboard. Still can. If you were a judge, read up on maritime law. If you’re bold enough, I suggest you try to change it. Good luck! (Basically, there is nothing you can do to someone anchoring in your viewshed, even if they keep smelly shrimp heads on board baking in the sun, just to spoil your sunset cocktails).

North Carolina will not “lose thousands of jobs in sales, services to homeowners, rentals, hotels, and restaurants” because of shellfish farming. To the contrary. For every oyster grown locally and shipped out, more money flows into the local economy, and twice as much money flows into the areas in NC where they are consumed. If we don’t do something to protect and improve water quality (like growing oysters) as more development occurs at our coast, we will eventually ruin it. Tourism, fishing, and real estate values are all negatively impacted if water quality goes down. We are here to help. For free, for now (in some states, oyster farmers are eligible to receive money in a nutrient credit program that offsets developmental impacts).

As head of the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association, a board member for the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, and an owner of two oyster farms and an oyster seed nursery, I am a bit of an “expert” and most likely spend more time outdoors on the water than you do. Love that fresh air. When you ask average folks walking Indian Beach who come from Florida, New York City, Chicago, (folks from Seattle know the shellfish industry well and love it, so they get a pass), Los Angeles, and Miami who know nothing about shellfish aquaculture, yes, you will get ignorant responses when viewshed fears are stoked. They don’t understand that shellfish growers are actively repairing the negative impacts they inadvertently caused. I suggest you educate them with the information I have imparted, gratis.

I’m sorry, but this paragraph of yours gave me a good chuckle.

“Is this state initiative for artificial oyster farms about what’s good for coastal North Carolina, and our economy, or what’s good for the business profits in the pockets of a few private individuals - those people who hire lawyers and lobbyists in Raleigh, or ‘know important state officials,’ or make election campaign contributions...those people.”

We’ve never spent a dime on a lobbyist or lawyer for our industry. I don’t know any important state officials personally. I’ve never made any campaign contributions privately or as an association. Every shellfish grower in this state is a small “mom and pop” operation, like many commercial fisherman. We battled and won to keep out industrial scale shellfish farmers (from Canada) who did hire a slew of lobbyists, and who did apply political pressure. They had deep pockets. We still beat them. I have not even spent a dime of membership dues for the several years I’ve been president. Everything I do for this industry is volunteer work. Do you know who originally promoted the growth of the shellfish industry in NC? North Carolina Sea Grant (administered by NC State University), North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Coastal Federation, and members of our General Assembly. Why you ask? If you’ve read what I’ve written, you should know by now. If not, please re-read what I have written. It’s important.

To you, I say this. We have had unanimous support from the entire NC General Assembly during a time of extreme political polarization. That’s right, unanimous. Not one member of the House or Senate voted down our bills, and all agreed to expand the shellfish industry. I bet it’s hard enough to get Town Commissioners to agree unanimously on something, right? Anyone who is educated to the benefits of what we do, and the ecosystem services (filtration) our crops supply for free to our State, is more than happy to support the shellfish industry. I suggest you put on the hat of an impartial judge and reconsider your stance in light of the information I have supplied.

 

Please visit the Chadwick Creek Facebook page and let Chris know how much you appreciate this thoughtful response.  

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2 min read

BC Shellfish Growers Choose BlueTrace

By Chip Terry on Jan 13, 2022 1:40:19 PM

zgG4T5Iw_400x400Comox, British Columbia. The British Columbia ShellfishGrowers Association has partnered with BlueTrace to bring industry-leading traceability technology to BC shellfish businesses. 

“The shellfish growers of British Columbia raise some of the best oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, and geoducks in the world. We are excited to help these innovative farmers continue to develop a safe, and prosperous industry. says Chip Terry, Ph.D., CEO of Maine-based traceability and food safety company BlueTrace.

For over 60 years, the BCSGA has sought “to advance the sustainable growth and prosperity of the BC shellfish industry.” Their membership includes growers, harvesters, processors, and industry supporters and vendors. 

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in line with regulatory bodies the world over, is stepping up its efforts at supply chain traceability to help prevent and react to outbreaks of shellfish diseases such as Vibrio and Norovirus. The initiative involves bolstering and standardizing tagging and traceability requirements for shellfish businesses. With more visibility into the supply chain, regulators will have the ability to quickly and precisely identify the source of any tainted product. This minimizes the extent and duration of costly recalls – while keeping consumers safe.  

“It is important for the industry to stay vigilant in a time of rising temperatures. A digitized traceability system for the entire industry raises the bar on food safety and ensures that our members can build their businesses without drowning in paperwork. We are pleased to be working with BlueTrace, DFO and our members to build a sustainable future for shellfish in British Columbia,” says Nico Prins, Executive Director at BCSGA. 

To help members comply with the new regulations, BCSGA reviewed all existing options in the marketplace and secured funds to help members purchase the best solution for their individual businesses. BlueTrace met all their requirements for flexibility, ease of use, alignment with regulations, and affordability. 

Currently used by over 150 shellfish businesses across North America, BlueTrace develops technology that allows anyone dealing in shellfish to easily comply with federal, state, and provincial regulations. Their combination of apps and printers saves shellfish growers and dealers time by reducing redundant data entry and expediting tagging and logging. Through collaboration with the BCSGA, the company has tailored their solution to specifically address the new regulations in BC.IMG_1124

About BlueTrace: BlueTrace offers the easiest and most powerful traceability solution for shellfish growers, wholesalers, distributors, and dealers. Its streamlined app enables organizations big and small to optimize their activities, comply with regulations, and keep up with their inventory.

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2 min read

Free Money: USDA PRS grant

By Chip Terry on Nov 16, 2021 9:31:51 AM

Many of us might wonder whether the govt has gone overboard with funding, but if they are offering and you are eligible you should at least consider applying. 

The USDA Pandemic Response and Safety Funding aims to help companies who have changed their businesses because of COVID.  Started doing Home Delivery? Packing in much smaller sizes than before--and needed a new tagging system? Hired more workers?  Put in new systems?....there is a lot of things companies did to respond that cost a lot of money.  

Only small businesses (95% of all seafood businesses) are eligible.  The details are below and the application only takes ~20 minutes.  Good luck.

USDA GRANT OPPORTUNITY! Applications due by November 22, 2021

November 16, 2021

The FDA is sharing a grant opportunity for eligible FDA-regulated food producers, processors and growers. The USDA’s Pandemic Response and Safety Grants cover COVID-19-related expenses such as workplace safety measures, e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE) retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs. 

Approximately $650 million in funding is available for the PRS grants that are funded by the Pandemic Assistance provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Apply by November 22.

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1 min read

Shellfish Tags:  What? Why? and How?

By Chip Terry on Nov 8, 2021 1:34:11 PM

Shellfish tags are mandated by the FDA and are part of the model ordinance from the National Shellfish Sanitation Program. They play a very direct role in public health protection.  

When an outbreak of disease attributable to shellfish occurs, health departments rush to determine the source of shellfish contamination to prevent any further outbreaks. This can be done most effectively by using the records kept by the shellfish harvesters and dealers to trace a shellfish shipment, through all the various dealers who have handled it, back to its point of origin. Shellstock tags are the first important records concerning the origin of shellfish.

They are mandatory whenever live shellfish are handled--from first harvest to the retailer or restaurant. Companies who fail to comply can face fines, seizure of products and other sanctions.  

Only live shellfish are required to have tags. Shucked shellfish and scallop abductor mussels do not need tags.

Shellfish Tag-1

 

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Podcast:  With Aquademia

By Chip Terry on Oct 29, 2021 11:43:25 AM

The Global Seafood Alliance (formerly the Global Aquaculture Alliance) publishes one of the best seafood podcasts.  The team of Shaun O’Loughlin, Justin Grant, and Maddie Cassidy are awesome.  We were lucky enough to be interviewed recently.  Always fun to talk seafood and innovation with smart and knowledgeable folks.  You can listen on your favorite podcast app or download from their website. 

 

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4 min read

FSMA New Rules:  What will change for the Seafood Industry?

By Chip Terry on Oct 1, 2021 12:00:00 PM

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety represents a new approach to food safety, leveraging technology and other tools to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system.

-New Era for Food Safety: Blueprint for the Future, FDA, 2021

The Food Safety Modernization Act is not new.  Congress passed the law in 2011 to give the FDA the ability to initiate mandatory recalls and a host of other powers over the food industry.  In 2020 the FDA issued a major proposed update to the rules: “The New Era of Smarter Food Safety.”  Although the final rules will not be published until 2022, the outlines are clear.  

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The rule builds on four core elements: Tech-Enabled Traceability, Smarter Tools, Food Safety Culture, and New Business Models. Lots of words and implications. You can read more on the FDA website, but here is our take on what this means for the seafood industry.  

 

The key update is Section 204 designed in the words of the FDA to “harmonize the Key Data Elements and Critical Tracking Events for enhanced traceability.”  The goal is to have end-to-end traceability that can enable tracebacks in seconds--instead of the current system that often fails and generally takes weeks. Here are some of the implications for seafood companies:

  1. Seafood gets special attention:  The FDA ran risk-models on what foods lead to the biggest food safety issues, all seafood (except scallop adductor muscles and catfish) ended up on the list along with leafy greens, eggs and numerous other products. 
  2. New Acronyms (KDE and CTE) get added to HACCP: For most distributors, the system will build on their existing HACCP program by mandating the tracking of Key Data Elements (KDEs) through Critical Tracking Events (CTEs).
  3. Digital is Required:  The mandate is for nearly every participant to provide a sortable spreadsheet to the FDA within 24 hours of request--essentially meaning that most companies must have a digital record.
  4. Lot Codes are Key:  Harvesters are required to put a unique identifier (lot code) on each harvest and that information should travel with the product through the supply chain. 
  5. The First Mile will be the hardest: Harvester/Growers are expected to collect and pass key information (including a lot code) about every harvest to the first buyer.
  6. Interaction with other regulations is unknown: Most notably the shellfish regulations which already require very similar information and tracking (minus the digital pieces). 

As the diagram below describes, the expectation is that Key Data Elements are passed from one step to the next--so there can be a rapid traceback if there is a problem. 
FDA Image for Traceability

Although the goal of safer food is a good one and the specific rules are under final revision, the impact on the seafood industry could be far reaching. Here are some of the biggest challenges we see for adoption: 

  1. Small non-technical suppliers:  
    1. Fisherman/growers are great at a lot of things. Technology is generally not one of those things.  From that oyster farmer in a Carolina skiff to the lobsterman or the long liner, most harvesters are not using a lot of technology. 
  2. Long Supply Chains: 
    1. Five plus stops in a chain is not unusual.  Passing information between all those players seamlessly is a big task.  This requires new protocols and standards.  
  3. Fast turn around:
    1. No one wants rotting fish. Inventory churn is measured in minutes/hours, not days and weeks.  
  4. Employees turnover is a real problem and there are often language problems
    1. There is little appetite for hiring tech folks or spending large amounts training new employees.  
  5. Data Sharing: 
    1. Most companies do not want to share who they buy from and who they sell to with others in the chain. Traceability challenges that business practice. 

Anyone who has spent time on a fishing vessel or seafood processing plant, knows that most companies still use a lot of paper and don’t have the systems needed to meet the FDA’s vision of, “food traced to its source in seconds.”  Not to mention, “alerting consumers in real time before contaminated or misbranded foods are consumed.”

There is a lot more to come about this rule, but now is a good time to start thinking about your digital strategy.  How do you collect, store and transfer key information about your product?  

There are solutions out there (including BlueTrace) and you should look at a few.  

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2 min read

Prop 65: This Matters for Everyone

By Chip Terry on Sep 19, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Save yourself from a frivolous lawsuit and include the Prop 65 language on your shellfish tags.  

Cadmium is naturally occurring in many oysters and is "known by the state of California to cause cancer."  We could argue the point strenuously, but better safe than sorry.  It is easy to include the warning on your tags and it could save you a lot of heartburn. 

If you have product that ends up in California (even after going through a few steps in the distribution chain) and it is not labeled properly, you can be sued.  Here is the text from the law: 

Section 25249.7 provides for a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 per day for each violation.

Here is the note from Margaret Pilaro at the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association.  

Earlier this month, at PCSGA’s AGM, Megan Terrell of Plauche and Carr provided some important information on California’s Prop 65.

At first glance this may not seem to apply to most of you.  HOWEVER, I’d ask you to take a second look.

If you ship product directly to CA, this is something of which you need to be aware. 

If there’s the slightest chance your product ends up in CA, (i.e. after being sold to a wholesaler/dealer) this is something of which you need to be aware. 

The upshot is that Prop 65 requires special labeling for products that may contain substances, (even those that are naturally occurring such as cadmium in oysters).

There are private organizations bringing forth legal actions for those that don’t comply with Prop 65. If you’re uninformed or chose to not act, it may impact you financially.

Blue Trace's products have been updated to make Prop 65 warning an easy option. As regulations change, we will continue to update our software to help you comply. No throwing out tags because the regulators made a slight wording change.    

Image from iOS (103)

 

 

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2 min read

NOAA Grant: We Won!!

By Chip Terry on Aug 31, 2021 12:14:52 PM

Thanks to all the folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) we are hiring more folks and scaling our solution.  Stay tuned for more product update. SBIR_logo

Here is the official press release: 

NOAA recently awarded BlueTrace (formerly Oyster Tracker) a $500k SBIR Phase II award based on the success achieved in a NOAA SBIR Phase I awarded in 2020. With the SBIR awards and already reported venture investments and grants, BlueTrace has raised over $1.8 million. 

These investments accelerate the building of an innovative Tide to Table Traceability and Marketing System. With over 120 clients in 12 states and 3 countries, BlueTrace has proven the market need and viability of a solution that helps shellfish harvesters, farmers, dealers, and distributors track their product seamlessly from harvest to consumption.  

As one of the SBIR grant reviewers noted: “The proposed work has strong commercial viability and has the potential to generate considerable cost-savings for shellfish producers and wholesalers.” 

Using the current BlueTrace system, shellfish producers and dealers track Key Data Elements for oysters, mussels, clams, geoducks and other shellfish from harvest through a complex chain of custody that often involves over five steps.  Using the mobile BlueTrace system, users track food safety issues and produce mandated shellfish logs and tags. The average client saves over 30% on their compliance costs while improving accuracy--and keeping their product safer.

BlueTrace is adding talented developers and seafood experts to their team to address rising consumer expectations for seafood provenance and evolving regulations. New federal rules such as section 204 of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act are being finalized for almost all seafood.  New regulations are increasing compliance costs while at the same time many in the shellfish industry are facing significant labor shortages. 

An easy-to-use traceability system designed for the mobile, wet, fast-paced environment of shellfish companies will make consumers safer and companies more efficient and resilient.  By tracking the time and temperature of seafood from harvest to table, the risk of illnesses like Vibrio and other food-borne diseases decreases dramatically.  

A safer food chain is good for consumers and businesses.  BlueTrace has the team, technology and know how to revolutionize tracking--from tide to table. Thanks to the SBIR program, we can build a system specifically for the complexities of the seafood industry.  

--CEO, Wyllys Chip Terry, Ph.D

About SBIR: The SBIR program was originally established in 1982 by the Small Business Innovation Development Act (P.L. 97-219). The objectives of the SBIR Program are to:  Stimulate technological innovation in the private sector;  Strengthen the role of small business in meeting Federal research and development (R&D) needs;  Foster and encourage participation by socially and economically disadvantaged persons in technological innovation; and Increase private sector commercialization of innovations derived from Federal research and development. Each year, NOAA sets aside a portion of its extramural R&D budget to fund research from small science and technology-based firms. The NOAA SBIR Program supports innovative research projects that fall within NOAA’s core mission of science, service, and stewardship. 

About BlueTrace: BlueTrace makes the seafood supply chain more efficient and safer, by digitizing key transactions and creating a seamless traceability chain. Founded in 2018 by technology entrepreneurs with a track record of successfully building companies, BlueTrace is dedicated to helping the seafood industry move from reactive and costly food safety programs to a system that anticipates food safety issues and prevents outbreaks--all for a fraction of the current time and expense.    

BlueTrace has received backing from the Maine Venture Fund, Maine Technology Institute, Coastal Enterprise Inc., The Food Loft and others.  BlueTrace is headquartered in Castine, Maine with employees in Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, and Washington state.   

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