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Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation
This page describes the state of the program improvement in the past.
The improvement left this stage on 20 February 2015; view the current state.

Improvement overview

One of the primary objectives of the MSC Chain of Custody (CoC) Program Review was to enable greater growth for food service companies and organisations selling directly to final seafood consumers. These ‘consumer-facing organisations’ (CFOs) include contract caterers, restaurant chains, fish counters at retailers, and independent restaurants and fishmongers. Enabling these organisations to sell and label certified seafood is important for the MSC’s mission, but many CFOs have provided feedback that existing CoC requirements are overly burdensome and not fit-for-purpose.

MSC held the first round consultations between March - April 2014 on several options to revise CoC requirements for CFOs. Most stakeholders supported retaining a certification model, but developing a specific standard for CFOs. The MSC is now seeking feedback on this draft CFO standard to understand whether it will work better for companies, while maintaining the credibility of the CoC program.

Current status

The CFO standard has been designed to reduce unnecessary administrative requirements for companies, while adding new controls that will better detect the risks of mislabelling that are most common with these organisations, such as employee error. Certification will still require an audit of the head office and an inspection of a sample of sites. Fundamental principles of traceability, segregation, and identification of certified product will remain.

Key changes:

  1. The CFO standard works for both single site and large, multi-site organisations, but is distinct from ‘Group CoC’ because there is more flexibility in how sites are controlled
  2. Traceability at consumer-facing sites (i.e. fish counters or catering sites) can be checked in real time, but historical traceability records don’t need to be maintained at site level for every portion of fish sold
  3. The output volumes of fish sold to final consumers no longer need to be recorded (i.e. as part of mass balance exercise)
  4. Additional controls have been added: a percentage of site inspections will be unannounced, more specific training is required, additional traceability tests will be added, and follow-on audits will be required if major NCs are found

Planned work

The final public consultation (August - September 2014) is now closed. Read the summary on stakeholder comments and how they have been addressed by the MSC. Thank you to all of the members that submitted feedback. All comments received will be reviewed to form the final proposal to the MSC Technical Advisory Board meeting in December.

To learn about further program improvement activities, please visit here.