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Aquaculture certification body established; future feedmill program planned

Friday, February 21, 2003

The Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc (ACC), a new non-governmental body, has been established to certify social, environmental and food safety standards at aquaculture facilities worldwide. The program combines site inspections and effluent sampling with sanitary controls, therapeutic controls, and traceability.

ACC certification is a voluntary program, which builds on elements of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) "Responsible Aquaculture Programme" and "Codes of Practice". Although the ACC was formed by the GAA, it is now a separate organization with its own governance, standards, and policies. It will continue to rely on financial support from GAA this year, but is expected to be completely independent next year.

ACC has been working closely with the US Food and Drug Administration to incorporate the FDA Good Aquaculture Practices (GAPs) within the ACC standards. The intention is for ACC certified products to qualify for Preferential Import Status. Verification is envisioned using third party international laboratories to sample finished products and report results directly into the traceability database. This will provide credibility as well as historical performance records. Similar goals are in place for Europe and Japan.

The first stage of the ACC live database is complete. ACC hopes to have the first traceability module of this database ready for demonstration at the Boston Seafood Show in March. The certification program will initially focus on shrimp farms and processing plants. In the future hatcheries and feedmills will be incorporated into the certification program. Once certification is fully established for shrimp, other species will also be included. [Source: FAO Infofish]

Visit the ACC website for more information: http://www.aquaculturecertification.org

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