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Risks shift along seafood supply chains

December 15, 2020
Global Food Security

David C.Love, Elizabeth M.Nussbaumer, Jamie Harding, Jessica A.Gephart, James L.Anderson, Frank Asche, Joshua S.Stoll, Andrew L.Thorne-Lyman, Martin W.Bloem

Seafood is a highly traded commodity and 71% of the United States (U.S.) supply is imported. This study addresses questions about imported seafood safety and compares risks of outbreaks and recalls across countries of origin, species, and stages of the supply chain. We found that where seafood comes from does not play a major role in risk. Risk is a function of the activities happening at each stage of the supply chain, inherent riskiness of some products or processes, and “pass through” risks introduced at upstream and midstream stages of the supply chain. Dominant farmed species (shrimp, tilapia, catfish) became less risky as they move along the supply chain toward consumers. We recommend investments in agencies overseeing food safety and health, enhanced traceability within supply chains, and more open government datasets that support systems-level analyses.