Current stage:

Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

The CoC Accessibility project was developed in response to stakeholder feedback suggesting that CoC requirements were too complex and costly, especially for foodservice companies. Since January 2012, extensive stakeholder consultation confirmed that CoC requirements should be greatly simplified and, above all, should reduce the need for client companies to develop often duplicative internal administrative systems to meet MSC requirements.

After stakeholder consultation and a risk/ benefit assessment to evaluate impacts of proposed changes against existing risks, it was determined that group CoC processes could be simplified to improve accessibility without decreasing system credibility.

Current status

Following the 21st meeting of the MSC’s Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Board of Trustees meeting, the following amendments were approved for release and implementation:

1. Introduction of a new set of eligibility criteria for ‘Reduced Risk Groups’: These are groups that do not perform any processing and have a high degree of management control over all sites.  Eligible groups can be assessed  against a streamlined set of requirements that aim to reduce time and costs through:

    • More outcome-based approach (accounts for existing systems; less need for MSC-specific policies or documentation)
    • More control at the group entity (head office) level
    • No internal site audits required before certification – only a group entity review
    • No requirement for annual input/output reconciliations at every site (can choose  sample of sites or entire group)

2. Revised Group CoC Requirements (Annex BC): An overall simplification and restructuring of the Group CoC certification requirements in order to:

    • Reduce  complexity and prescriptiveness for groups
    • Improve consistency of certification for groups
    • Account for varying risk levels (i.e. Reduced Risk Groups; waiving some requirements for groups that only handle certified seafood)

3. Revised process for addressing critical non-conformities found at CAB site audits: Enables CABs to determine if critical non-conformities are site-specific or systemic, and to take appropriate action in each case. Under the existing system, critical non-conformities found by CABs automatically lead to suspension of the entire group certificate.

4. Revised sampling plan Table B3 for Group CoC. This will simplify the process used by CABs to determine sampling plans for group surveillance audits and lead to greater consistency, without significantly affecting the actual sampling sizes recommended. This change is most important for CABs.

5. Allowing remote certification for designated traders: This change will enable single site traders who do not take physical ownership of products, and only use transport or storage subcontractors, to become certified through a remote audit rather than requiring an onsite audit

Planned work

The revised requirements were published in the MSC Certification Requirements V1.3 on 14 January, 2013 and are available to download at\documents

The amendments listed under Accessibility will apply to:

  • New applicants from 14/03/2013
  • Existing applicants and certificate holders upon reassessment