The sea-green ASC-certified responsible seafood label can be found on items sold at grocers nationwide, and the label appears on more than 19,400 products internationally.
The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the world’s leading provider of farmed seafood certification, has rolled out a new technology that enables it to verify ASC-certified seafood back to its farm of origin with more than 95% accuracy. The technology, based on Trace Element Fingerprinting (TEF), will, in part, help the organization further reduce seafood fraud and mislabeling, which are widespread among both wild-caught and farmed seafood.
“If you want to make claims about being the ‘best’ or ‘sustainable,’ you must be able to verify where and how the seafood was raised,” said Peter Redmond, senior market development manager at Washington, D.C.-based ASC North America. “We are encouraged by the opportunity this technology brings to further strengthen our certification program.”
Since 2010, ASC has been creating and enforcing the world’s most stringent standards for improving farmed seafood quality and safety, ensuring supply chain integrity by tracing from the farm to the store, providing full transparency via public disclosure, and protecting the environment, workers and communities.
Using TEF, ASC can trace farmed seafood with even more accuracy. At tests conducted at several ASC-certified shrimp farms in Southeast Asia, ASC and its partners were able to correctly identify the farms of origin in all samples and achieved more than 95% accuracy compared with lower accuracy rates for conventional statistical methodologies.
“ASC’s use of TEF technology reflects the concept that ‘you are what you eat,’” added Redmond. “The environment in which you eat, drink and live leaves a footprint in your body, and the same is true of farmed seafood. Trace elements from the local soils, groundwater, surrounding environment and food are taken in by plants and animals, and, with our use of TEF technology, we can link them back to their place of origin.”
The organization will continue to test and refine the technology, with plans to implement it at all ASC-certified farms. The sea-green ASC-certified responsible seafood label can be found on items sold at grocers nationwide, and the label appears on more than 19,400 products internationally.
“While our label is a symbol to consumers that their product comes from a certified responsible farm, we also need to constantly adapt to new technologies,” noted Wendy Banta, ASC’s senior program assurance manager. “Now, with TEF technology, we are further pushing mislabeling and fraud out of this industry and driving what we call ‘the new way to seafood.’”