Food In Canada


New ISO standard to improve fish safety

ISO unveils a new standard that sets out how to improve the traceability of finfish

Geneva, Switzerland – The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has introduced a new standard on the traceability of finfish products.

The new standard is known as ISO 12875:2011, Traceability of finfish products – Specification on the Information to be recorded in captured finfish distribution chains.

What it means

ISO says the standard specifies the information to be recorded in marine-captured finfish supply chains in order to establish traceability.

The aim is to improve food safety by supplying stakeholders throughout the supply chain with accurate information about the origin and nature of these products.

The standard also specifies how traded fishery products are to be identified, and the information to be generated and held on those products by each of the food businesses that physically trade them through the distribution chains.

The standard deals with the distribution for human consumption of marine-captured finfish and their products, from catch through to retailers or caterers.


Finfish constitute an important part of the modern food industry. Consumers eat more and more products coming from around the world and fish, in particular, may be caught thousands of kilometers from where they’re eventually consumed.


The ISO definition of traceability concerns the ability to trace the history, application and location of that which is under consideration, and for products this can include:
• the origin of materials and parts;
• the processing history; and
• the distribution and location of the product after delivery.

Traceability includes not only the principal requirement to be able to physically trace products through the distribution chain, from origin to destination, but also to be able to provide information on what they are made of and what has happened to them. These further aspects of traceability are important in relation to food safety, quality and labelling.

The potential users of the standard include:

• Fishing vessels
• Vessel-landing businesses and auction markets
• Processors
• Transporters and storers
• Traders and wholesalers
• Retailers and caterers.