Ferme Marine de Mahebourg

interview with MD Tommy Sawmy

Company profile

The Ferme Marine de Mahebourg is a fish farming company based in Mauritius and has been a user of Timestrip since 2015.

The company produces three types of fish — Sea Bass, Red Drum and Dusky Kob — and has just over 100 employees.

It produces over 1,000 tonnes of fish annually, with production for 2017 forecasted at 1,500 tonnes and a target for 2020 of 3,000 tonnes. 95% of its production is exported, with the remainder going to mainly high-end hotels on the island. Its main markets are the US and the EU, which account for 50% and 40% of its exports respectively.

MD Tommy Sawmy says the main challenge his company faces as a seafood exporter is getting a competitive price for its products. He says:

Ideally, we would want to set a price that generates a sufficiently high profit margin. In fact, what happens is that on occasion we need to sell at a zero-profit margin to beat the competition. That’s the biggest challenge.

Ferme Marine de Mahebourg’s operations are split over three areas:

  • the farm based in sheltered lagoons
  • a closed-system hatchery to ensure bio-security
  • A processing plant made up of three zones — receiving, gutting, and filleting/packing.

It’s at the packing stage that Timestrip Seafood 3°C TTI labels are attached to every vacuum packed unit to ensure the cold chain hasn’t been breached during transit.

Client Scenario

The company approached Timestrip to manage two issues:

Firstly, the FDA-approved oxygen permeable bags they had been using up until that point had an adverse visual effect on its products. Oxidation made the veins of the product turn brown and although in no way did this impact on quality, aesthetically it no longer looked fresh. In fact, the company received quite negative feedback from its customers about this.

One was: “Why are you sending us old (looking) fish?”

Secondly, as with the oxygen permeable bags, the solution had to comply with FDA regulations. This was absolutely essential for access to the US market.

The Timestrip® Solution

Timestrip Seafood 3°C TTI labels could easily handle the first problem, as they are specially designed for vacuum packaged products. This low oxygen environment keeps products looking fresh until receipt by the end-user.

Moreover, because there is a high risk of Clostridium botulinum toxin growth with vacuum packaging at temperatures above 4-5°C for over 4 hours, they also work as a C. bot prevention tool.

Also, Timestrip Seafood 3°C TTI labels were designed with the FDA guidance in mind, a crucial requirement for the company given that half of its exports are for the US market.

Apart from access to the US market, a related benefit of using an FDA compliance cold chain management tool is that the company is placed on a so-called “Green List”. This means that its products are not detained at receiving US airports and are only checked for temperature.

This benefit is 100% correlated to the Timestrip seafood indicator being in compliance with FDA guidance and means the company’s US customers get to process their received products without any delays.

Also, their use of Timestrip temperature indicators led to more business for the company.

Timestrip TTIs not only allowed for access to the US domestic seafood
market, but also led to more sales.

Tommy Sawmy MD

In fact, Ferme Marine de Mahebourg was the first seafood exporter to the US that used Timestrip labels after they were designed for FDA compliance.

Lastly, on the customer feedback front things have much improved. The company no longer receives negative feedback from its customers as to how the products look upon receipt.

Tommy Sawmy believes that the company’s use of Timestrip temperature indicators has had a definite positive impact on its reputation. He says:

Customer trust has increased.

Interested in Seafood TTIs?

Certification

Our products are manufactured under the controls established by an IQC approved quality management system that conforms with ISO 9001:2008

Contact us today to enquire about Timestrip Temperature indicators, via our contact page.

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