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Traceability in the supply chain

The MSC ecolabel is only applied to fish and seafood products from MSC certified fisheries. To be certified to our Chain of Custody Standard, supply chain businesses must identify and separate certified product. Every business, along every step of the supply chain, is audited by an independent certification body.       

Since 2007, the MSC has also been conducting additional checks to ensure the robustness of the system. These include:

Traceback exercises

These follow a product through the supply chain, from point of sale to the final consumer back to the fishery. The Chain of Custody team does a number of these exercises each year to make sure that product sold as certified can be demonstrated to come from a certified source.  

Random and short notice audits

A proportion of the audits conducted by a certification body are unannounced. These unannounced audits may be selected at random or may be risk-based. In addition, certification bodies now conduct short notice audits on some consumer-facing businesses.  

DNA testing

Carried out by independent consultants since 2009, testing has shown that mislabelling of MSC ecolabelled products is extremely rare. Less than 1% of samples have been found to be incorrectly labelled.

By comparison, a widespread survey of 1,200 seafood products across the USA showed that 33% were mislabelled.

More about DNA testing in the MSC supply chain >

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