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HQ Sustainable Receives ACC Certification

by Ellen Hardy
24 December 2007, at 12:00am

CHINA - First Major Tilapia Company Certified, Highlights Quality of HQS's Toxin-Free Products

HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries, Inc. a leader in toxin-free integrated aquaculture and aquatic product processing, today announced that its China-based processing plant operations for tilapia and shrimp have been certified by the Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. (ACC).

"HQ Sustainable is the first major tilapia producer in the world to receive this certification," said William R. More, ACC vice president and director, referring to the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards for tilapia developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance and licensed to the ACC on November 1, 2007.

More explained that ACC standards are becoming essential to many retail and food service buyers such as Wal-Mart, who are now requiring that their seafood providers meet independent, third-party qualification to ensure product quality. "We congratulate HQS on this achievement and for leading the industry by example," he said, adding, "We encourage consumers to look for ACC-certified aquaculture products as a measure of security and peace of mind."

Norbert Sporns, president and CEO of HQS, said, "The initials of our company name stand for 'highest quality,' and that is our commitment. Our role is to guarantee to our consumers that we stand behind our products.

"The HQ Sustainable commitment to quality must be part of an industry-wide effort to educate the public to the choices available. The establishment of reliable standards, monitored and regulated by influential groups like the ACC, validates our commitment to quality and helps HQS in the rollout of its toxin-free 'TiLoveYa'® brand throughout the United States and Europe," Mr. Sporns continued.

The HQ Sustainable plant in China is certified annually in accordance with U.S. HACCP quality control regulations, as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Economic Community Code (EU) Code assignment of quality, permitting its products to be sold in these international markets. HQS's nutraceutical plant also has a certification of Chinese Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). In addition, China has developed an advanced BAP standard for aquaculture management for all exported products.

HQ Sustainable's toxin-free production methods use no hormones, anti-biotics, malachite green or any toxins. Prior to harvesting, HQS conducts its own testing in addition to efforts by the China Inspection Quarantine (CIQ), which adhere strictly to the FDA requirements for tilapia. Furthermore, HQS trains its cooperative farmers to meet polyculture toxin-free standards and monitors these standards rigorously.

About the ACC

The Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. is a nongovernmental body established to certify social, environmental and food safety standards at aquaculture facilities throughout the world. This Missouri nonprofit, nonmember public benefit corporation applies elements of the Global Aquaculture Alliance Responsible Aquaculture Program (http://www.gaalliance.org/resp.html) in a certification system that combines site inspections and effluent sampling with sanitary controls, therapeutic controls and traceability.

Part of ACC's mission is to help educate the aquaculture public regarding the benefits of applying best management practices and the advancing scientific technology that directs them. By implementing such standards, program participants can better meet the demands of the growing global market for safe, wholesome seafood produced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. offers a primarily "process" certification with an orientation toward seafood buyers. Successful participation in the Best Aquaculture Practices program is visually represented by limited use of the BAP certification mark (http://www.aquaculturecertification.org).

ACC currently certifies tilapia processing plants, shrimp hatcheries, farms and processing plants. In the future, feed mills will be incorporated into the certification program. Once certification is fully established for tilapia and shrimp, other species will also be included.

Ellen Hardy