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Seafood Label Guidelines

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Seafood is often considered part of every healthy dietary regime due to being rich in proteins

and omega-3 fatty acids which have many positive health benefits. According to the U.S.

Department of Agriculture, having two seafood meals per week can reduce the risk of

cardiovascular diseases.

However, eating seafood can sometimes hold some risks. If the product is not properly labeled,

the consumer will not be well informed about its nutrients. The lack of accurate information

may cause allergic reactions or affect consumer’s health in some other way. It is important to

understand the labeling, so you know what you are purchasing.

Labels can indicate whether a producer is using sustainable methods in their production

process. Sustainable seafood is seafood caught or farmed considering the environment and vitality of the species.

“Each time you go grocery shopping, place an online order, or visit your favorite restaurant, you have the opportunity to vote with your wallet for a healthier ocean for this and future generations.”

How to read the labels on your sustainable seafood:

Certifications and Systems

1. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC): MSC Certified applies to fisheries that have been

assessed on the sustainability and impact to fish populations and ecosystem. This

applies to wild-caught fish and seafood. When you make the switch to certified sustainable seafood products featuring the MSC blue fish label, you are directly supporting the fisheries and businesses helping to make the fishing industry more sustainable. Use to find out if your favorite restaurant, seafood brand, retailer, supplements, animal foods and more use MSC certified products.

2. Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC): Similar to MSC, but instead focused on setting

standards for international aquaculture, taking into the consideration both

environmental and social factors.

3. Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP): A global third-party aquaculture certification program

that encompasses the full product chain.

4. BRC Global Standards (BRC): Food safety certification program for food retailers.

5. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP): Another food safety system, this one

established and enforced by the United States Food and Drug Administration. HAACP

certification is not limited to seafood, but applies to all types of food production.

6. SQF Institute (SQF): A food safety and quality program for retailers and others across the

food service industry.

Regulators, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Others

1. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF): An environmental organization, EDF works with

companies and legislators on environmental solutions, often with a focus on science and


2. FishChoice: A non-profit organization that creates tools and provides resources to help

businesses buy and sell sustainable seafood.

3. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): United States federal agency

dedicated to “science, service, and stewardship”, focused on climate and marine


4. Seafood Watch: A science-based non-governmental organization that develops seafood

recommendations for consumers and businesses (“Best Choice,” “Good Alternative,”

and “Avoid”).

5. World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF): A non-governmental organization with a variety

of environmental interests, WWF’s oceans programs work with global business

stakeholders, scientists, and academics in an effort to protect oceans and preserve

marine life.

6. Other (non-alphabet soup) certifications you might find at a Seafood Expo, or at your

local grocery store, include Fair Trade Certified and Food Alliance Certified.


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