To sell your seafood on the American market, you need to comply with American market access requirements. These requirements can vary from national legislation to common buyer preferences.


Legal requirements

The most important legislation you must comply with is on Food Safety. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the import of seafood products like into the USA via the Imported Seafood Safety Program. It requires imported foods to be pure, wholesome, safe to eat and produced under sanitary conditions.

For more effective inspections and/or examinations, the FDA must receive Prior Notice of Imported Foods. It requires Food Facility Registration for most facilities that manufacture, process, pack, receive or hold food, including foreign manufacturers.

The FDA carries out Foreign Country Assessments to evaluate laws for and implementation of control of animal drug residues in the aquaculture products shipped to the USA. To prevent foodborne illness and reduce health risks, it also monitors and assesses potential exposure to pathogens, natural toxins, pesticides and other contaminants in food products.

Prepared (e.g. canned or frozen) fish products should be labelled according to US Nutrition Labeling law. These labels must be informative and truthful, with the labelling information in English or in the predominant language of a U.S. territory where the language is one other than English.

Additional requirements

In addition to legislation, American buyers often have non-legal requirements. A common additional requirement is Food Safety Certification. The most popular food safety certification schemes for seafood products are IFS and BRC. Meeting these additional requirements isn’t mandatory, but can increase your chances on the market considerably.

Niche market requirements

If you can supply eco-labelled seafood products, this niche market may provide interesting opportunities. For wild-caught fishery products, MSC is the main certification scheme. ASC is the most important certification scheme for aquaculture seafood products.

Want to know more?

Would you like to know more about American market access requirements for seafood? You can read all about them in the FDA’s Food Section and Imported Seafood Safety Program, including tips and guidance documents!

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