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Taiwanese Seafood Producer Tracks Fish to the Dish

Tekho's Ubiquitous Live Fish Traceability program employs 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags and BizTalk RFID to provide restaurant patrons with the life history of farm-raised grouper.
By Claire Swedberg
Mar 10, 2008Tekho, a Taiwanese grower and supplier of grouper, is tagging its fish with RFID tags at its An Pin Live Fish Center in the city of Tainan, in southern Taiwan, to make each fish's life and health history available to consumers.

When restaurant patrons order grouper in Taiwan, they can expect to pay upwards of $100. The choice of which fish will be the best tasting and healthiest is up to the customers as they pick from a restaurant's tank of live specimens. For that reason, discerning diners look for grouper of a particular size and age, that has been fed specific foods to ensure it will provide a good meal. The fish's health is not always guaranteed, however, since the animals come from a variety of farmers at various locations with little recorded history.

Tekho's An Pin Live Fish Center attaches RFID tags to the fish it sells to restaurants.

Until now, customers have had to rely on a fish's appearance, as well as any manually recorded information about its origins, age, weight and health. But customers are often suspicious of the animal's health when there is little traceability as to its origins.

With Tekho's Ubiquitous Live Fish Traceability program, using RFID technology integrated by Microsoft's BizTalk RFID division, restaurants can now scan data linked to an RFID tag attached to a fish's gill and mouth to inform customers of its age, where it was farmed and what it was fed, as well as the quality of water in which it swam.

Tekho raises and sells about 27,000 fish annually for restaurant consumption, according to the company's CEO, Michael Wu. Its highly prized grouper are housed at the An Pin Live Fish Center, then sent live to high-end restaurants throughout the country. With a full traceability system, he explains, the fish have greater value to customers.

Wu says the company sought an RFID system that would provide customers with knowledge about the fish they were eating. In addition, he notes, RFID could save time and labor that would otherwise be used in manually recording details about the grouper as they are raised and then shipped.

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