Q: What is the voluntary seafood inspection program?

A: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducts a voluntary seafood inspection program on a fee-for-service basis. The program provides vessel and plant sanitation, product inspection, grading, and certification, label review, laboratory analysis, training, consultative and information services. Participants may use official marks on complying products which indicate that they are federally inspected.

Q: What is HACCP?

A: HACCP means Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. It is a non-traditional, non-continuous inspection technique, first used for foods in the early 1970's, that focuses on problem prevention and problem solving by industry through a systematic approach. The U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) HACCP-based program includes identifying and monitoring of critical control points in a process to prevent potential risks to the safety, wholesomeness and economic integrity of product.

Q: Is there a difference between the USDC and Food and Drug Administration HACCP programs?

A: Yes. (click here)

Q: How can I advertise? Can I use the existing USDC marks?

A: Participants in the USDC Seafood Inspection Program can use the Federal "U.S. Grade A" and "PUFI" (Processed Under Federal Inspection) marks and related statements based on the inspection activity at the facility. All Federal marks and statements must conform to the guidelines set forth by USDC. Guidance, review, and approval for advertising, promotion, and labeling are available by the Seafood Inspection Program, NOAA.

Q: How much does the program cost?

A: All costs will be discussed with each applicant prior to contractual agreements. NOAA maintains a schedule of fees and charges for Types I, II, and III fishery products inspection services. 

Q: How do I get into the program?

A: Contact your Regional Inspection Branch or the Headquarters office for information. An application package will be sent to any interested party upon request. Assistance in meeting all program requirements is available through the regional inspection branch.