IFFO RS History

The continuing development of the global fishmeal and fish oil markets after 2000 created a growing need for the industry to demonstrate its commitment to the responsible sourcing of raw materials and the safe production of ingredients for aquaculture, agriculture and directly in the production of consumer products such as nutraceutical fish oil. 

There was also growing concern over the sustainability of global fisheries, including fisheries that supply fishmeal and fish oil to aquaculture. In some regions, there were concerns of the origins of ‘trash fish’ and also of the legality of catches used in the supply of raw materials for fishmeal and fish oil. The fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishery material was also becoming a global issue. 

The IFFO Board, in 2007, decided to address the value chain’s need for reassurance on the origin and purity of the raw materials going into marine ingredients; and in order to better demonstrate to all stakeholders the commitment of IFFO’s members to responsible practices in the areas of raw material procurement, feed/food safety and traceability, a multi-stakeholder Technical Advisory Committee  was convened to develop a Global Standard for the Responsible Supply (IFFO RS) of fishmeal and fish oil.

The TAC quickly agreed that the standard should be a business-to-business standard that took fishmeal and fish oil factories as its unit of certification. It was also agreed that the new standard should be managed according to the ISO 65 standard (see below for an explanation of ISO 65), which required the appointment of an independent Certification Body which could undertake all auditing and award certificates to compliant factories.

The initial Standard was finalised in September 2009, the programme opened for applications in October 2009 and the first factory was certified in February 2010.

A key requirement for the IFFO RS standard is that a factory must be able to demonstrate full traceability of RS compliant product throughout the production process right from an approved raw material up to the factory gate. However, from this despatch point the supply chain for IFFO RS certified fishmeal and fish oil can be complex with many links that can result in a long and sometimes complicated distribution chain. This increases the risk of the certified fishmeal and fish oil being mixed with non-certified material. To ensure that the IFFO RS fishmeal and fish oil identity is protected and to provide users of fishmeal and fish oil with a recognised standard which they can use to demonstrate that the ingredients that they are sourcing come from responsibly managed factories, the IFFO RS Board in 2010 released a Chain of Custody standard (IFFO RS CoC). The IFFO RS CoC standard was opened to applications in October 2010 and the first company was awarded certification in April 2011.

Then in 2012 the IFFO RS standard achieved through its independent Certification Body the International Organisation for Standardisation ISO Guide 65:1996 (EN45011) accreditation; a big achievement that took 2 years from submission of application to the final accreditation Board decision.