The Certified Quality Salmon (CQS) Program has been in existence for over ten years. The Program Standards are specifically designed by Food, Regulatory and Salmon and Environmental Experts using ISO methodologies to accurately describe the intricacies of salmon aquaculture production processes and transparently measure company performance through an internationally recognized certification process.
The Program Standards were initially drafted in Ireland in 1998 by members of the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, Government Regulators, Scientists from the Marine Institute, Fish Farmers and Conformity Experts from Global Trust (an independent Certification Body specializing in ISO standards development and certification processes). The Program Standards were later internationalized by expert Technical Committees to allow applications from salmon companies throughout the world. The Program now has certified membership in Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada (Seafood Trust).
Program governance and technical integrity is demonstrated through accreditation to the International Standard ISO 65 / EN45011 (General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems). The Certified Quality Salmon Program maintains this ISO accreditation through an annual external accreditation audit by a National Accreditation Body (INAB) which is a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).
The Certified Quality Salmon Program is 100% voluntary. Producers choosing to implement the Programs commit to ongoing, transparent third party review of their production practices. And by adopting these best practice standards producers more readily deliver consistent Quality Certified Salmon products to the marketplace. For these reasons, the Certified Quality Salmon Program is increasingly recognized and endorsed by leading retailers and consumers as a comprehensive solution to their needs and tastes.
Specifically, the Certified Quality Salmon Program is comprised of the following Standards:
Fresh Water Rearing Standard – (Download PDF here)
Salt Water Rearing Standard (Download PDF here)
Salmon Packing and Processing Standard (Download PDF here)
Eco-Salmon Standard (Download PDF here)
Organic Salmon Standard (Aligned with EU Organic Regulations)
Route to Certification
Step 1: An Interested (Applicant) Company completes a formal Application for Certification and returns this application to the Independent Certification Body
Step 2: TheApplicant Company receives a copy of the Official Standard and prepares its systems to meet the standards.
Step 3: The Applicant Company contacts the Certification Body to agree on a date for an independent Audit.
Step 4: The Applicant Company undergoes an independent assessment against each clause of the selected CQS Standard by an Auditor from the Certification Body. The auditor completes an audit report and compiles a list of non-conformances requiring corrective actions. The auditor does not give any advice on how to make the corrections, nor does the auditor give indication of how the company’s certificationmay progressin light of the required corrections.
Step 5: The Applicant Company carries out the necessary corrective actions and submits these actions to the Certification Body.
Step 6: The Auditor reviews the corrective actions and determines whether the evidence submitted are acceptable to “close out” the non-conformances. If the auditor deems they are not acceptable, then further evidence is required from the Applicant Company. When an auditor is satisfied that sufficient evidence has been submitted, the Certification Body convenes a Certification Committee to review the audit report and corrective actions.
Step 7: The Certification Committee has the same combined experience as the auditor, but the auditor is not a member of this Committee. On the basis of the report and corrective actions the Certification Committee will decide to either: Certify; Defer Certification pending more information; recommend Re-audit; or, decide Refusal to Certify.
Step 8: The Results of the Certification Committee are communicated to the Applicant Company. Applicant Companies failing to meet the Certification Standard can choose to reapply again.