Key Milestone Strengthens Aquaculture Standards

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
10 June 2010, at 1:00am

US - The Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification programme has been successfully benchmarked against Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) food safety requirements.

Seafood-processing plants can now achieve both BAP certification and GFSI compliance through a single audit process.

“Achieving this prestigious GFSI benchmarking is an important milestone for the BAP programme that will assure global markets that seafood from BAP-certified facilities meets the highest standards for food safety,” GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens said. “It also will make it easier for plants to meet the demands of seafood retailers, distributors and marketers that require GFSI.”

GFSI documents provide an internationally recognised benchmark against which any food or farm assurance standard can be measured. Representing a collaboration of leading experts from retail, manufacturing and foodservice companies, GFSI pursues continuous improvement in food safety management and cost efficiency in the supply chain.

The food safety elements of the BAP programme comply with the guidelines established by GFSI based on industry best practices and sound science. The Best Aquaculture Practices certification program also goes beyond food safety to address traceability, animal welfare, environmental sustainability and social responsibility in additional certification standards.

“GFSI benchmarking is particularly meaningful as BAP expands to include new species and cover the full production chain,” Mr Stevens said.

BAP certification standards for feed mills were recently completed, and standards for Pangasius farms are also close to release. These certifications are complemented by BAP standards for shrimp farms and hatcheries, tilapia farms and channel catfish farms.

In a GFSI release, Jürgen Matern, chairman of the GFSI board of directors, said: “In light of the growing importance of aquaculture within the food supply chain and the future needs of a growing population, the GFSI recognition of the food safety elements within this scheme will provide confidence in products sourced from this method of production.”