DNA results confirm supply chain integrity for MSC certified sustainable seafood — Marine Stewardship Council
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© F Peters / MSC

© F Peters / MSC

DNA results confirm supply chain integrity for MSC certified sustainable seafood

Dec 11, 2013

Results of the latest round of independent DNA testing on MSC labelled products show over 99% were correctly labelled. Of 320 samples tested, only three were found to be mislabelled.

When seafood is sold with the MSC ecolabel, every business in the supply chain has undertaken a detailed traceability audit against the MSC chain of custody standard. This shows seafood buyers that fish has come from MSC certified sustainable fisheries. 

Independent DNA testing on MSC-labelled products is an integral part of the MSC’s strategy for monitoring the effectiveness of this chain of custody program.

Increased assurance and value

"This is an important test for the MSC," explains MSC product integrity manager, Alison Roel, "because it provides consumers and MSC stakeholders with added assurance that MSC-labelled seafood has been correctly labelled.

"DNA analysis provides an additional means of helping our partners protect their investment in the MSC program, and we’re going to continue to expand the test to increase our overview of the chain of custody program. Any cases where mislabelling is identified will be referred to the certifiers of the supply chain so they can be further investigated," she said.

In order to extend the reach and value of the testing, this round has added additional species, including haddock, tuna and halibut. In addition, a smaller control group of non-MSC certified seafood products were also tested, which revealed five per cent were mislabelled.

Trace back investigation

The three mislabeled samples are now being investigated by tracing back the documentation through the supply chain. In each instance, the certifier and the brand owner will be informed and, if evidence is found of a substitution with non-MSC certified seafood, the result will be a suspension of certification.

The samples came from 15 countries and a range of sectors including restaurants, cafeterias, supermarket fish counters and packed products.

More information

Read and download the DNA testing report (PDF, 204 kB)

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MSC inside story: Why you can trust MSC ecolabelled seafood

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