ASC has today (8 March) launched a consultation on a major project to expand its Chain of Custody requirements to strengthen its supply chain assurances to buyers and consumers and to better address the unique nature of farmed seafood.
The consultation covers the development of the ASC Chain of Custody Module, which introduces important requirements specifically for farmed fish.
It is part of one of ASC’s largest ever rounds of public consultations, with stakeholder feedback also sought on proposed environmental requirements for a new aligned Farm Standard.
Stakeholders can view a webinar which details the proposed new module, and can then feedback on any or all of these topics using a simple survey, all from the dedicated ASC Chain of Custody Module page on the website. The consultations will run for two months, from 8 March to 7 May 2021.
Chain of Custody certification provides traceability along the entire supply chain ensuring that only certified seafood is sold with the ASC label. Since 2012, ASC has used MSC’s CoC certification to cover ASC certified product supply chains. This robust system is the leading international standard for seafood segregation and traceability and it covers the entire supply chain, from farm to final sale. ASC and MSC work closely together and have many shared objectives and a strong collective ambition to maintain and innovate this aspect of our certification programmes.
Best practice and innovation
Chris Ninnes commented: ‘To fulfil this ambition additional Chain of Custody requirements are needed due to inherent differences in producing farmed and wild seafood. Additionally, as the ASC programme grows, a new suite of assurance activities and tools to address emergent issues such as seafood fraud, food safety and use of substances such as antibiotics are needed.
‘These new ASC requirements reflect and establish global best practice to address these issues and begin to incorporate innovation through use of technology such as digital traceability and product authentication techniques.’
The new requirements will be in addition to the existing MSC Chain of Custody requirements, and will apply only to ASC Chain of Custody certificate holders. The new module will have implications for stakeholders, particularly Chain of Custody certificate holders and Certification Assessment Bodies (CABs). However, ASC will work to ensure that impacts are minimised.
More effective and adaptive
Wendy Banta, ASC Senior Programme Assurance Manager, said: ‘These improvements help make the programme more effective and adaptive to new challenges, which will provide increased value and assurance to stakeholders. They are part of our ongoing work to constantly improve the ASC programme.
‘Giving our stakeholders a chance to provide feedback on our plans is another big part of that work, so we’re encouraging anyone who might be affected by these proposals to take part in the consultation.’
Stakeholder input is an important feature of the ASC programme development and anyone can take part in the consultation, with the feedback of certificate holders and CABs particularly sought. The expertise, experience, and opinions of all ASC’s stakeholders will once again help to shape the future of a programme that is continuously improving.
The ASC Chain of Custody Module will be adapted based on this round of public consultation.
All final releases will be followed by a six to twelve month effective period to allow auditors and certificate holders to adjust.