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The factories certified to date are located in Peru, Iceland, Denmark and the United States. (Photo: IFFO)

Rapid uptake of fishmeal certification programme

Thursday, October 21, 2010, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

More than 20 per cent of the world’s fishmeal and oil production capacity has achieved certification - only a year after the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation launched its Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO-RS). Further factories are currently under assessment and more applications are in the pipeline.

Ahead of its annual conference in Beijing (October 25-28) IFFO has announced that, as of end September 2010, there were 47 fully certified factories in four countries utilising six approved fisheries. These together represent more than one-fifth of world production of fishmeal and fish oil, all now with the assurance of being independently assessed for responsible sourcing and responsible production.

The RS Standard initially applied only to the sourcing of whole fish, which make up 75% of raw material used for fishmeal and fish oil production. This week IFFO also announced the extension of the RS to cover the remaining 25% - by-product raw material (trimmings from seafood processing) - which are recycled by the industry into fishmeal and fish oil.  In addition, IFFO is now piloting a Chain of Custody extension to its Standard which will enable companies further along the supply chain for fishmeal and fish oil (and their products) to apply for IFFO-RS certification.

Fishmeal plant. (Photo: IFFO)

“IFFO, and more importantly, the aquaculture industry and seafood sector, are very pleased with this rapid uptake,” said Director General Jonathan Shepherd. “Wholesalers and retailers are queuing up to offer support, withBirds Eye Iglo and Sainsbury's both addressing our Members at the Beijing conference. Traders and processors are asking for the RS programme to be extended to cover their section of the chain of custody once it is formally adopted into the Standard.

“The whole supply chain sees credible sourcing credentials as essential to reassure consumers, build sales and brand values, maintain their reputation and to ensure food security. Many retailers and wholesalers have pledged to supply only certified seafood within one to three years and regard the industry’s commitment to the IFFO-RS as a substantial step in the right direction,” said Dr Shepherd.

IFFO-RS is a Business-to-Business certification programme that enables a compliant factory to demonstrate that it responsibly sources its raw material from well managed fisheries and responsibly converts that into pure and safe products. The Standard is set by a multi-stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) including fish farmers, seafood processors, retailers, marine conservation NGOs and fishmeal producers. Applicant factories and their raw materials are audited by an independent ISO 65:1996 accredited certification body.

Whole fish used must come from fisheries managed under the key elements of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and IUU fish are excluded. By-product material must come from fish that were intended for human consumption and from species which are not on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as endangered species. Fishmeal and fish oil must be manufactured under a recognised quality control scheme to ensure product safety and purity.

“The IFFO-RS has already addressed the two critical areas of concern to the value chain – source of raw material and safety in supply,” said Dr Shepherd. “But it remains a work in progress, constantly being developed with the ultimate goal of playing its part in demonstrating a fully sustainable industry – economically, socially and environmentally.” 

The full RS Standard and a list of factories which have achieved certification can be found on the IFFO web site. The factories certified to date are located in Peru, Iceland, Denmark and the United States. IFFO follows certification protocol of not releasing details of applicants  or of those factories which applied but failed to achieve the Standard.

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