NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program

06/23/2017

What is the Seafood Inspection Program?

To ensure the safety and quality of seafood, we provide inspection services to the seafood industry for fish, shellfish, and fishery products. The program offers a variety of professional inspection services on a voluntary, fee-for-service basis which ensures compliance with all applicable food regulations.

Our goal is to encourage and help the industry improve the quality, safety, and marketability of seafood and fishery products for the benefit of consumers.

Participants in our program include vessels, processing plants, and retail facilities. All edible product forms ranging from whole fish to formulated products, as well as fish meal products used for animal foods, are eligible for inspection and certification. U.S. participants in the program may use official marks on their products indicating they have been federally inspected.

The Commerce Certification Division of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection  operates the Seafood Inspection Program under the authority of the 1946 Agricultural Marketing Act.

What services do we provide?

Our services provided to the seafood industry include:

  • Sanitation inspection.
  • System and process audits.
  • Product inspection and grading.
  • Laboratory analyses.
  • Industry training.
  • Consultation.
  • Export certification.

We provide these services nationwide and in other countries.

Does the program extend to the international industry?

Yes, we offer the same services to firms operating overseas or processing in foreign countries. We also offer export certification services [link to new Drupal page that provides more detail on export certification] to attest to the health of products intended for human consumption abroad.

Is seafood imported into the U.S. from other countries inspected for quality and safety?

Foreign suppliers and U.S. importers must comply with U.S. regulations for fish, shellfish, and fishery products. Foreign producers are responsible for product specifications, process controls, training, and sanitary practices, and U.S. importers are responsible for verifying that these requirements have been met.

To determine the source of your seafood, look at the packaging. All seafood sold in the United States is required to have country-of-origin labeling on the package.

How can I learn more about the seafood that I eat?

U.S. seafood is wild-caught and farm-raised under strict regulations that work to keep the marine environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job. All U.S. seafood is managed sustainably with consideration for the long-term health of the environment.

You can learn more about making smart seafood choices by visiting FishWatch.gov which provides the most accurate and up-to-date information on seafood available in the United States.