In the coming months, fish production and processing companies in Greece will have in their quiver a technological system that will allow them to detect any changes in the fishassessing their quality before they reach the trade or final consumer.
The system is implemented in the context of the project TraceMyFishwith the Mediterranean sea bass and Atlantic cod and salmon to be the three species of fish considered of the participants in the project, in which Greece, Norway and Iceland take part. Panagiotis Zervas, partner and head of Operations at the company SCiO, and Antonis Koukourikos, partner and head of Research and Development Projects at the same company, which participates in the project, explain to “YX” how data collection in the different stages of the supply chain can lead to more extensive and faster tracking of the product’s progress.
“The project intends to contribute to solving the main problem faced by the fish supply chain and the food industry in general, but also by the regulatory authorities, which is the identification of risks for any alterations along the length of the supply chain. For this reason, it has as its object the development of an intelligent system for recording and storing data produced in its different stages”, they note.
Scan the fish
“The recording of the data is carried out through the integrated system iFishManagementSystem, which is developed in the framework of the project and enables the collection of data produced by innovative portable scanning devices, which are placed on the fish and identify any biological/chemical changes in them, measuring the concentration of specific substances that develop”, explain Mr. K. Zervas and Koukourikos.
“Collected data is automatically stored on an online platform and feeds intelligent machine learning algorithms, with the aim of timely and valid risk prediction of any spoilage in fish at the different stages of the supply chain. The algorithms were developed “and trained” in conjunction with real laboratory microbiological analyses, which were carried out at specific stages of the supply chain by the specialized teams of researchers from Greece, Norway and Iceland, who participated in the project. The aim was for the performance of the machine learning algorithms, which the system incorporates, to approach the results of laboratory analyses, which require time and cost,” they state.
To carry out the above, the participants contacted fish farms, with the aim of supplying them with different products, packaged and kept in various conditions, in order to build the database used for the laboratory experiments.
The TraceMyFish project is funded by the European action ERANET Cofund Blue Bioeconomy. From Greece, the technology company participates in the project consortium SCiOwhich deals with innovative solutions in the field of agri-food, and the Food Microbiology & Biotechnology Laboratory of the Agricultural University of Athens, with Professor Georgios-Ioannis Nyhas.
Also participating are researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Biotechnology and Food Science and the University of Iceland’s School of Food Science and Nutrition, as well as technology company VideoMeter from Denmark and private operator Matis from Iceland, with specialization in fish microbiology.
Application of the system in fish production and processing companies
In the second half of 2024, companies will be able to benefit from the system iFishManagementSystem. As explained by Mr. Zervas and Koukourikos, “fish production/processing companies will be able to contact us for the implementation of the system. If they need the portable scanning device to collect data, they should get it from the VideoMeter company. The system for the analysis of the data with the intelligent machine learning algorithms is offered by us and the billing is based on the number of hours required for the analysis and receiving an analytical report with results to the client.”
The benefits that companies will obtain are mainly related to the possibility of more extensive and faster monitoring of the course of their product and the avoidance of returns or destruction of the product. “At the same time, the project consortium hopes that its results will indirectly benefit the consumer, if they are adopted by the food industry and the control mechanisms of various countries, but also the fish farming sector, which will assess within minutes the duration life of its products and their quality before they reach the shelves or the trade”, note Mr. Zervas and Koukourikos.
They conclude, saying that “in this way, it will be possible for professionals in the field, such as quality managers in fish production/processing companies, those in charge of control authorities, but also consumers, to have easy and reliable access to this information at any time, for the purpose of making appropriate decisions on a case-by-case basis’.