Ocean to plate traceability — Marine Stewardship Council
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Ocean to plate traceability

'Trust where it's from' image showing fish half in sea and half on plate



Consumers are increasingly concerned about where their seafood comes from, how it is handled along the way and that it was sourced sustainably and responsibly.   

Trust the blue MSC label

The blue MSC label is only applied to sustainable fish and seafood products that can be traced back to MSC certified fisheries.

Handled with care

Supply chain businesses must identify and separate MSC certified product in order be certified to our Chain of Custody Standard for traceability. Every business, along every step of the supply chain, is audited by an independent certification body. 

Graphic showing the journey of MSC labelled fish from fishery to processor to retailer to consumer



The MSC regularly monitors the supply chain and auditors' application of the Standard to make sure requirements are being followed correctly.

We also conduct a series of monitoring activities to ensure the robustness of the system. These include:

DNA testing

One of the ways in which we ensure our traceability system is working is through independent DNA tests. Tests have been carried out on hundreds of random samples from MSC certified products and have shown that mislabelling is extremely rare. In the last 6 years, less than 1% of samples have been found to be incorrectly labelled on average.

Read more about DNA testing and the latest results >

Traceback exercises

These check that the correct paper work is in place along each step of the supply chain from the point at which a product is sold back to a sustainable source. Tracebacks are conducted regularly, with a focus on markets that could be at higher risk of mislabelling.

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.

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