Title: Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy Enhancing quality management of fresh fish supply chains through improved logistics and ensured traceability

Author(s): Mai Thi Tuyet Nga
University thesis
Year of publication:
University of Iceland
Place of publication:
Number of pages:
Document URL: Link
Supervisors: Sigurjon Arason
Fresh fish supply chain; traceability; logistics; air freight; sea freight; temperature mapping; quality; shelf life; time-temperature indicator.


The aim of the project was to enhance product quality management in fresh fish supply chains through improved logistics management and ensured traceability effectiveness. The study provides insights into seafood companies’ perspectives on the benefits of implementing traceability. Knowledge on the net benefits of implementing traceability and the distribution of costs and benefits among actors can support decision making. Comprehensive literature review on the necessary components to ensure traceability and a framework developed to assess traceability system effectiveness enable researchers and practitioners in the food/seafood sector to locate problems and take necessary actions to ensure effective traceability. In addition, more efficient use of recorded data provides an approach to enhance quality management. Data on ambient temperatures during logistics steps can be used to calculate the product warm up time. The results on temperature profiling pinpointed several hazardous steps in air transportation related to handling, storage and transport operations. Pros and cons of two transport modes, air vs. sea, were analysed. Several factors were found to influence product temperature and shelf life during logistics processes, namely, presence/absence of precooling, mode of transport, product location and logistics length. These findings help to improve logistics management as well as to make decisions on transport alternatives so as to improve quality management. The new photochromic time-temperature indicator (TTI) was found to give reproducible responses and reflect well the temperature conditions of fresh fish supply chains. The results show that a right charging time could be defined to suit the shelf life of the fresh fish product concerned. The TTI of a right charging level placed on the bottom surfaces of fresh cod retail packs was found to reflect well the temperature conditions of the product and the shelf life declared by sensory evaluation, except for the case of severely superchilled conditions, and other methods of quality control. The results indicate the potential of using the new TTI to continuously monitor product temperature history, quality and shelf life in fresh fish supply chains.


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