Firms urged to use MSC to combat fraud in seafood

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Seafood firms have been urged to combat food fraud with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Seafood firms have been urged to combat food fraud with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Related tags: Meat & Seafood

The seafood industry is being urged to do more to confront rogue behaviour following the discovery of a five-year-long bait-and-switch scheme involving a US firm.

Business services organisation Lloyd’s Register has called on processors and fisheries to join a certification scheme after a Virginia-based seafood company intentionally mislabelled crabmeat. Casey’s Seafood imported 183t of crabmeat and repackaged it as US-raised blue crab, amounting to a wholesale value of $4.3m (£3.51m).

Polly Burns, fisheries manager for customised assurance at Lloyd’s Register, argued this type of “illegal and misleading activity”​ placed consumers at risk. She claimed the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC’s) blue label offered assurances that the seafood was “what the label says it is​”.

Offering assurances

“With membership of a traceability scheme not a requirement in the fisheries industry, there are seafood businesses that will continue to exploit consumers by engaging in acts of food fraud​,” Burns said. “To confront this, schemes such as the MSC’s blue label offer assurances that a fishery has achieved the MSC Fisheries Standard and have met the Chain of Custody Standard for traceability.”

The MSC label can be found on 30,000 seafood products in almost 100 countries. Burns said retailers and food outlets were increasingly looking to buy and stock sustainable seafood products.

“There is a growing requirement for MSC certification in providing access to markets around the world,”​ Burns said.

Sustainability-minded retailers

“Producers looking to sell their product to sustainability-minded retailers and other end-users such as restaurants, are already beginning to find they have to have MSC-labelling for the fishery and the subsequent chain of custody documentation through the supply chain. Without the blue label, producers may begin to face a struggle to continue supplying both existing and new customers.”

A recent study by conservation group Oceana found that 21% of sampled fish was not what it was called on the label or menu. Burns believed this figure could be “driven down”,​ but it required producers to “put fair dealing above profits and sign up to a certification scheme such as MSC”.

“Fortunately, awareness among consumers is growing and many are now actively looking for the MSC blue label​,” she added. “The time when fisheries could expect to get away with food fraud for over five years is nearing an end.”

Related topics: Food Safety

Related news

Show more

comments

Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars