Global Aquaculture Alliance welcomes FDA shrimp farm certification pilot testing
The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), the global standards setter for aquaculture seafood, today said it welcomes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to launch a pilot program to test third-party certification of shrimp farms as an important step in promoting strict health and safety standards throughout the seafood supply chain.
The FDA pilot program was announced today at the first-ever Import Safety Summit in Washington, D.C.
GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens, who was attending the summit when the news was announced, said GAA will submit its Best Aquaculture Practices certification program for consideration as one of the pilots to be evaluated.
“We were excited to learn from Secretary Leavitt that the Department of Health and Human Services has chosen aquaculture and specifically shrimp to test its new plans for third-party certification,” Stevens said. “We applaud the leadership of the department for pursuing voluntary third-party certification as a key element of its comprehensive Food Protection Plan.”
“Partnerships like the one the secretary announced today are a great opportunity to highlight how effective public-private cooperation can be when it comes to food safety,” he added.
Stevens said that certifications such as Best Aquaculture Practices can complement federal regulation and exponentially increase the FDA’s reach.
“Standards require collaboration,” Secretary Leavitt said. “This is a new characteristic of the global marketplace. … Collaboration is the new frontier,” adding, “standards don’t have to start with the government.”
The BAP program is based on an independent audit of shrimp hatcheries, farms, feed mills and processing plants on food safety, environmental integrity, social responsibility and animal welfare. It also incorporates full traceability of the final product “from pond to plate.”