Diners Track Sushi Sustainability with Edible QR Codes

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Harney Sushi, sustainable sushi, QR codes, NOAA FishWatch
Harney Sushi’s edible QR codes tell patrons where their fish comes from. Photo: Elle Comm

Do you know where the fish in your sushi comes from?

A California sushi restaurant has introduced an “edible technology” program to provide diners with sustainability information about the fish they consume.

San Diego-based Harney Sushi is printing quick response, or QR, codes on rice paper wafers using edible, water-based ink. The sushi rolls are wrapped in the wafers, making it easy for smart phone-carrying diners to scan in the codes and learn more about the fish they’re consuming.

The QR codes direct diners to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s FishWatch website, a clearinghouse for seafood news and sustainability facts.

Dustin Summerville and Kirk Harrison, owners of Harney Sushi, along with executive chef Robert Ruiz, worked closely with the NOAA over several months to help establish better sustainability standards. The restaurant owners say Harney’s is one of the first restaurants in the US to offer this kind of edible technology.

“Sustainability is based on a simple principle – meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, for example, using a resource but leaving some for the future,” the NOAA says on its FishWatch website.

“In terms of seafood, this means catching or farming seafood responsibly, with consideration for the long-term health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend upon the environment.”

For now, Harney Sushi will only use one code that points diners to the FishWatch homepage, but eventually the restaurant hopes to use species-specific codes to provide diners with in-depth sustainability information on various menu items.

Learn more about buying and eating sustainable seafood at the FishWatch website.