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MSC FAQ for Restaurants and other Foodservice Businesses
 

What is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?
Who benefits from MSC certification?
Is all Janes fish and seafood MSC certified sustainably caught?
Why has Janes Family Foods chosen to source only fish from certified sustainable fisheries?
What is an ecolabel?
Why use the MSC ecolabel?
What benefits are there to choosing Janes fish and using the MSC ecolabel?
How can I get my restaurant or foodservice outlet certified to use the MSC ecolabel on menus?
Who carries out MSC chain of custody audits?
What will the chain of custody auditor assess?
How do I find an MSC chain of custody certifier?
How long will the audit take?
Can I combine a Chain of Custody audit with other audits?
How long does certification last?
How often should I expect to be audited?
How do I get an MSC ecolabel license?
When should I apply for an ecolabel license?
How can I apply for an ecolabel license?
How can I use the MSC ecolabel in our restaurant or other foodservice establishment?
How much does it cost to become MSC chain of custody certified?
What does MSC do with the money it earns from selling ecolabel licenses?
Is there a workbook or more information will help me to prepare for the MSC certification and licensing process?
Is there paperwork involved with being MSC chain of custody certified?


What is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?

The mission of the MSC is to use its certification and ecolabel program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.

MSC is the leading global environmental standard for wild-caught seafood.  Seafood carrying the blue MSC logo are certified as coming from a fishery that has been certified as sustainable and well-managed.

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Who benefits from MSC certification?

Consumers
The MSC logo indicates to consumers that the certified fish can be traced back through the entire supply chain back to the source fishery – from boat to plate. The MSC ecolabel is also an easy solution for consumers to find sustainable seafood products and reward those in the supply chain and fisheries who demonstrate leadership in sustainability.

Fish-related livelihoods
Protecting fish stocks through the certification of sustainable fishing practices helps protect the livelihoods of many people involved in bringing fish from boat-to-plate. Fisheries engaged in the MSC program show progressive improvement in environmental performance such as improved stocks and reduced bycatch, as well as increases in knowledge and certainty about ecosystem impacts.

Oceans
Healthy oceans are essential for thriving marine ecosystems, livelihoods and economies around the world. Today our oceans are under more pressure than ever from human and environmental impacts. Sustainable fishing helps to protect the marine ecosystem.

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Is all Janes fish and seafood MSC certified sustainably caught?

Janes was the first North American food company to have (MSC) certification on 100% of its retail seafood products as containing sustainable wild capture fish. In 2012 Janes converted all of its foodservice fish products to be MSC certified as well.

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Why has Janes Family Foods chosen to source only fish from certified sustainable fisheries?

Because, together, we can make a positive difference. Worldwide demand for seafood is increasing. Yet many of the world's fisheries and fish stocks are in decline because of over-fishing.

Fortunately, throughout the world there are fisheries that are fishing sustainably.
By choosing to work with our fisheries to source only sustainable wild-caught fish and seafood, we feel the steps we take today will have a positive impact on our long-term sustainability goals for tomorrow.

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What is an ecolabel?

The MSC ecolabel is a consumer recognized symbol that only licensees who have passed MSC Chain of Custody audits are allowed to display.

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Why use the MSC ecolabel?

The MSC ecolabel on your menu is a great way to show your commitment to seafood sustainability and involve your customers at the same time. It is the most widely recognized and trusted indicator of seafood sustainability, allowing you to demonstrate best practice in sustainable fish and seafood sourcing.

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What benefits are there to choosing Janes fish and using the MSC ecolabel?

Choosing Janes certified sustainably sourced seafood products and using the MSC ecolabel in your restaurant or take-away could bring chefs, managers, staff and customers the following benefits:

  • Knowing your seafood is sustainable: The MSC ecolabel means you know the seafood comes from a sustainable source. No guessing or further research is needed – it’s assured. This is because only fisheries that meet the highest standards of sustainability are certified as meeting the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing.


  • Enhancing your reputation: Using the MSC ecolabel in your restaurant will demonstrate your company's commitment to sustainability. The MSC is recognized globally as having the highest standard for sustainable fishing. The rigorous, independent fishery assessment process ensures credibility and provides customers with reassurance of your environmentally responsible sourcing.


  • Feeling good about the future: MSC certified restaurants report that managers and staff experience added motivation and pride, knowing that they are helping to safeguard the future by contributing to the growing market for certified, sustainable fish.

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How can I get my restaurant or foodservice outlet certified to use the MSC ecolabel on menus?

You can use the MSC ecolabel to show that seafood has come from an independently certified sustainable fishery. To ensure its integrity, wherever the ecolabel is used, every link in the supply chain has to be certified to the MSC Chain of Custody standard for seafood traceability.

As a foodservice establishment, you are the last link in that supply chain, and your business will also need to be audited to show it meets the MSC Chain of Custody standard.

There are several steps to using the MSC ecolabel on your menu:

  1. Prepare your traceability system.

    The MSC Chain of Custody audit will require you to have systems in place that ensure MSC-certified seafood is kept separate from non-certified seafood and that adequate records are kept to demonstrate that your staff uses these systems for every MSC-certified seafood product that passes through your business.


  2. Hire a certifier.

    In the MSC website’s Get Certified pages you will find a list of certifiers who conduct MSC Chain of Custody audits. These are all third-party certifiers accredited by Accreditation Services International. We recommend you request quotes and client references from at least two certifiers.


  3. Conduct preliminary review.

    In an initial conversation with the certifier you have hired, you may be asked questions about your current product identification and tracking systems to gauge them against the MSC Chain of Custody standard. This allows the certifier to highlight any issues that may need to be addressed before certification can be granted. This preliminary review may be conducted over the phone or by email. It helps to prepare you and the certifier for the on-site audits.


  4. Undergo the on-site audit(s).

    During the audit(s), the certifier you have hired will refer to responses you gave during the preliminary review to verify that these practices are in place within your company. The certifier will conduct an in-depth verification of your system and tour your premises and kitchen.

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Who carries out MSC chain of custody audits?

Audits are carried out by independent certifiers, also known as auditors. The MSC certification and ecolabelling program is a third-party program. Independent certifiers carry out assessments of fisheries and businesses against our standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability. This ensures our program is robust, credible and meets best practice guidelines for standard-setting organizations.

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What will the chain of custody auditor assess?

The certifier will check that your restaurant does the following:

  1. Buys Janes or other MSC certified seafood only from certified suppliers.


  2. Keeps MSC certified seafood separate from non-certified seafood.


  3. Makes sure MSC certified seafood is clearly identified.


  4. Makes sure that the MSC ecolabel is only applied to MSC certified seafood auditor assess.
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How do I find an MSC chain of custody certifier?

We recommend getting quotes from some of the list of accredited Chain of Custody certifiers who can carry out your assessment.
http://www.msc.org/get-certified/find-a-certifier

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How long will the audit take?

The certifier spends approximately 1 day at your restaurant, but you should ask your certifier to estimate the amount of time the audit will take. The more you can prepare for the audit, the quicker it will be.

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Can I combine a Chain of Custody audit with other audits?

You may be able to combine your MSC audit with others – such as ISO 9000, IFS or BRS – if your certifier is qualified.

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How long does certification last?

Chain of Custody certification lasts for three years and requires regular surveillance audits. The frequency of these audits will be determined during the on-site audit, based on the traceability risk factors involved with the seafood your company sells. The standard audit frequency is once every 12 months.

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How often should I expect to be audited?

The frequency of audits will be determined during the initial on-site audit, based on the traceability risk factors involved with the seafood your company sells. The standard audit frequency is once every 12 months.

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How do I get an MSC ecolabel license?

Once your restaurant has an MSC Chain of Custody certificate there is one last step before you can use the MSC ecolabel in your restaurant. You need to apply for a license to use the ecolabel.

The MSC ecolabel is a registered trademark and cannot be used without an ecolabel license.

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When should I apply for an ecolabel license?

While you are preparing for your Chain of Custody audit. This way, as soon as your restaurant is certified, you will be able to use the MSC ecolabel.

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How can I apply for an ecolabel license?

To apply to use the MSC ecolabel please:

  • Contact your local MSC office, or

  • Email ecolabel@msc.org. They will set up an agreement with you (a license) and send you copies of the ecolabel that you can use.

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How can I use the MSC ecolabel in our restaurant or other foodservice establishment?

You can use the MSC ecolabel on your menu or promotional literature - for example, brochures, stands, letterhead, website, etc.

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How much does it cost to become MSC chain of custody certified?

For most foodservice outlets there are two costs involved if you want to use the MSC ecolabel to show your commitment to sustainable seafood sourcing:

  1. Cost of MSC Chain of custody certificate
    You'll need to pay a certifier to audit your restaurant against the MSC Chain of Custody standard for seafood traceability.


  2. Ecolabel license fee
    You pay a small fee to the MSC to use the MSC ecolabel.

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What does MSC do with the money it earns from selling ecolabel licenses?

Income from ecolabel licenses is invested in the MSC program, for example:

  • To ensure that MSC traceability stays ahead of the game, and


  • To encourage new fisheries into the program to provide an ever-expanding selection of certified fish to choose from.

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Is there a workbook or more information will help me to prepare for the MSC certification and licensing process?

Independent restaurants should consult the MSC Procedures Manual.

Chain and institutional foodservice businesses can contact MSC for more information.

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Is there paperwork involved with being MSC chain of custody certified?

The MSC requires you to maintain documents and records to prove your compliance with the requirements of the MSC program. These should be maintained for 3 years and their location should be noted. You may also be asked to supply these records to your certifier.

The documents you will need to maintain include the following: Purchase orders, packing slips, invoices and weight of fish received – this is to ensure your sales can be reconciled to your purchase orders – that you did not sell more MSC fish than you bought. You can use any measurement, such as portions, to track the volume through your restaurant.

You may want to keep a separate binder from your procedures manual to include other requirements such as staff training materials, training schedule and checklists of records to maintain.

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