Determining the Origin of Seafood Products on the Belgian Market: Challenges to Traceability and Database Management

I. Sioen*, 1, 2, W. Verbeke3, S. De Henauw1, K. Parmentier4, M. Raemaekers5, J. Willems1, J. Van Cam2
1 Department of Public Health, Ghent University, Belgium
2 Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Ghent Uni-versity, Belgium
3 Department of Agricultural Economics, Ghent University, Belgium
4 ILVO, Sea Fisheries Depart-ment, Belgium
5 FAVV, Belgium

© 2007 Sioen et al.;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Ghent University, Belgium; E-mail:


In countries where the majority of the seafood is imported, information about seafood origin is important in particular from a food safety perspective. In the case of Belgium, no database is available describing the origin of commercial seafood products. This investigation to determine the origin revealed three important problems. First, information needed to stem from different non-related databases; second, import countries did not define fishing grounds or product sites; third, seafood may have transited many areas and no information was available on this. Since European traceability regulations have been established for seafood, some limited extra efforts with respect to data collection and management can lead to (inter)national databases making seafood traceability information more practically useful, for example towards public health policy making.

Keywords: Traceability, seafood, Belgium, fishing grounds, import.