Feed RUoC

The purposes of the ASC Certification Requirements for Unit of Certification [RUoC – this document] are:

1. To provide Applicants seeking for ASC certification with a description of the scheme certification requirements that apply to Applicants and ASC Certificate Holders.

2. To describe the requirements for those certified entities who wish to make a claim about or use the ASC logo and trademarks for certified facilities or products.

3. To provide transparency so the ASC standard system has credibility with stakeholders.

This document contains administrative and process requirements that Applicants and ASC certified feed mills need to conform to in addition to the performance requirements specified in ASC Standards. 

Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) shall use this document in conjunction with ASC Certification and Accreditation Requirements (CAR), which further details requirements for the CAB.

NOTE: This document has been developed for technical use by Applicants and ASC Certificate Holders and by accredited and Applicant Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs), therefore casual readers may find that it is not easy to read. For general readers, it is recommended that the ASC website be reviewed prior to this document.

This document comprises all administrative and process requirements that Applicants for certification and Certificate Holders shall conform to in addition to the requirements in the ASC Feed Standard.

The documents listed below and the Variance Request & Interpretation Platform are part of the ASC Certification Requirements. 

For references which have a specific date or version number, later amendments or revisions do not apply. CABs and Certificate Holders are encouraged to review the most recent editions and any guidance documents available to gain further insight. 

For document references without dates or version numbers, the latest edition of the document applies. 

The following apply directly to the Applicants and Certificate Holders:

  1. ASC Feed Standard; See www.asc-aqua.org 
  2. The ASC data retention and data ownership policies; See www.asc-aqua.org 
  3. All applicable laws and regulations of governmental or other competent authorities, related to the scope of the Standard and ASC Requirements.

All definitions are published in the ASC Vocabulary Portal.

4.1 Feed Mill staff competency requirements 

4.1.1. Only competent person(s), team(s) or organisation shall conduct Due Diligence and risk assessments as required in the ASC Feed Standard.

4.1.1.1 Individual(s) conducting Due Diligence and Primary Raw Material Production risk assessments shall collectively possess the required competencies in Annex C.

4.1.1.2 Where Due Diligences or risk assessments are outsourced (e.g., using consultant(s)); the Client shall be responsible for confirming and maintaining evidence of competencies of external parties.

4.1.2 .The Client’s designated member of management (as per ASC feed standard indicator 1.2.4), shall have authority over the implementation and compliance with the below requirements [4]:

  1. Evaluation and approval of evidence to demonstrate competency of personnel conducting Due Diligence. Records of evidence shall be maintained.
  2. Maintain a record of the evidence evaluated for competency approval according to the risk scope of the assessment (i.e., legal, social or environmental). 
  3. Review and approval of the content of all completed assessment reports ensuring:
    • It was conducted according to the Client’s Due Diligence / assessment process
    • It includes clear reference to the predefined risk factor(s) and pathway(s) used to determine low risk, as defined in the standard
  4. Where required, there is support and engagement with the facility undergoing the Due Diligence / assessment. 
  5. There is appropriate authority to follow up and manage the implementation of monitoring programs and measures resulting from the outcome of the assessment(s). i.e., prevention, mitigation, remediation, or cease sourcing.
  6. Where Due Diligence or risk assessment of primary raw material production is conducted by the Ingredient Manufacturer, the Client may accept this as evidence in place of conducting their own assessment provided:
    • the report is reviewed to assess whether it was conducted by qualified person(s) and 
    • the evidence provided to justify the outcome of the assessment is acceptable. 

4.2. Ingredient Approval Process

4.2.1. The Client shall implement documented procedures with clearly defined responsibilities for processes specific to its Supply Chains and their risks. The procedures shall include but not be limited to the following:

4.2.1.1. Processes to maintain up-to-date Supply Chain mapping for all ingredients that represent >1% of the total annual ingredient-weight (volume) received by the Applicant/Certificate Holder for use in aqua feeds.

4.2.1.2. Processes to maintain traceability records/information of all Ingredients.

4.2.1.3. Processes used to determine:

  1. Risk levels of Ingredient Manufacturers and Primary Raw Materials Production and 
  2. Pathway(s) chosen for each respective risk factor as specified in the ASC Feed Standard.

4.2.1.4. Processes and pathway(s) used to determine risk levels of plant based Primary Raw Materials for legal deforestation/conversion risk factor as specified in the ASC Feed Standard.

4.2.1.5. Processes to verify approval status and classification of incoming ingredients as: Eligible Ingredient, Non-eligible Ingredient, Non-Aquafeed Ingredient or Non-Permitted Ingredients.

4.2.1.6. Processes to determine the sustainability category for whole fish marine ingredients.

4.2.1.7. Processes to restrict sourcing of relevant ingredients to Ingredient Manufacturers, approved as required, by the ASC Feed Standard.[5]

4.2.1.8. Processes to assess and mitigate the risks of substitution or uncontrolled mixing between Eligible Ingredients and Non-eligible Ingredients where the Segregation Production Model is operated and where ASC-product and non-ASC product are produced.

4.3. Ingredient Accounting System (IAS)

4.3.1. Clients using the Mass Balance Production Model shall operate an Ingredient Accounting System[6] that:

4.3.1.1. Is operated by trained and authorised person(s).

4.3.1.2. Is protected from deliberate and/or accidental altering of data.

4.3.1.3. Is updated on a continuous basis:

  1. Upon receipt, and prior to entering into the IAS, the Client shall determine whether the ingredient is destined for use in aquafeed or non-aquafeed. Only Volume destined for use in aquafeed shall be entered into the IAS
  2. Upon receipt, and prior to entering into the IAS, the Client shall determine, whether the ingredient is eligible. Only Volume which is eligible shall be entered into the IAS
  3. In exceptional cases where Eligible Volume entered into the IAS is later re-assigned for non-aquafeed (e.g., livestock), this volume must be immediately deducted from the IAS
  4. In exceptional cases where an ingredient previously classified as non-eligible is retrospectively determined to be eligible, this volume shall be entered into the IAS as eligible but only after evidence is available to demonstrate its eligibility and it was received within the Accounting Period
  5. Upon dispatch, the volume of ASC product produced under the Mass Balance Production Model, is deducted from the IAS.

4.3.1.4. Records any changes (yield) in weight/volumes, in kg and %, of each blend/batch from receiving to dispatching the final products.

4.3.1.5. In addition, where the Client is producing product under both the Mass Balance Production Model and Segregation Production Model, the IAS shall deduct outgoing product, indicating whether the product was dispatched under the Mass Balance Production Model or Segregation Production Model.

4.4. Shared Ingredient Accounting System (IAS)

4.4.1. When a Shared IAS is used, each participating production site shall meet all the following conditions: 

4.4.1.1. be owned and operated by the Client,

4.4.1.2. be certified individually or as a Multi-site under the ASC Feed Standard,

4.4.1.3. be certified by the same CAB,

4.4.1.4. be located within the same country,

4.4.1.5. be listed (name, location) in the Shared IAS,

4.4.1.6. share or use the same ingredient approval process as described in Section 4.2.,

4.4.1.7. have authority to enter into and deduct eligible volume from the Shared IAS,

4.4.1.8. acknowledge in writing that non-conformities raised[7] against the Shared IAS of any one participating site may have an impact on eligible volume for all sites involved in the Shared IAS.

4.4.2. In the Shared IAS, the output of ASC product produced by all participating sites shall not exceed the input of eligible volume received by all participating sites within the Accounting Period.

4.4.3. All requirements of the Shared IAS shall be applied in addition to the requirements as described within section 4.3 Ingredient Accounting System.

4.5. The Mass Balance and Segregation Production Model

4.5.1. Making changes to Production Models in operation

4.5.1.1. The Client shall request a CAB evaluation to determine if an on-site audit is required in the following situations:

  1. Change from one Production Model (Segregation or Mass Balance) to another, or
  2. Addition of a Production Model.

4.5.2. The evaluation may be conducted during a surveillance audit or at any convenient time and cost as agreed by the Client and the CAB.

4.5.2.1. Balancing of Mass Balance Accounting Period.

  1. The Client shall produce a Mass Balance summary for all Mass Balance Production Model product dispatched during the defined Accounting Period.
  2. The balancing summary shall be carried out annually at the end of each accounting period.
  3. The balancing summary shall include the following:
    1. Eligible Volume (in MT) carried over from the previous Accounting Period (if applicable)
    2. Eligible Volume (in MT) received within the Accounting Period
    3. Eligible Volume (in MT) (i.e., ASC product) dispatched within the Accounting Period and
    4. Eligible Volume (in MT) to carry over to the next Accounting Period (if applicable).
  4. If an available quantity of eligible volume is not used within twenty-four (24) months from the date of entry into the IAS (see 4.3.1.3), the volume shall expire and shall be deducted from the IAS.

4.5.3. Mass Balance 

Accounting Period: January to December

4.5.3.1. For initial audits, Eligible Volume can be added to the IAS from January of that calendar year onwards, however, this volume must be verified as accurate during the initial audit. Once verified as accurate, Eligible Volume, (i.e., ASC Product), may be deducted from the IAS from the date of initial certification onwards.

4.5.3.2. The volume of ASC product dispatched shall not exceed the Eligible Volume entered into the IAS within the Accounting Period (including, if relevant, eligible carry over from the previous Accounting Period).

4.5.3.3.The Client may overdraw volume during the Accounting Period as long as overall quantities are monitored (via the IAS) and the volume is balanced by the end of the Accounting Period[8].

4.5.3.4. Unused eligible volume at the end of the Accounting Period may be carried over and recorded in the IAS for the following twelve (12) month Accounting Period.

4.5.3.5. Only Eligible Volume which has been recorded in the IAS within the Accounting Period (including the carry-over from the previous Accounting Period) shall be allocated to outputs dispatched within the Accounting Period.

4.5.4. Segregation Production Model

4.5.4.2. For the Segregation Production Model, the Client shall implement documented traceability procedures to maintain physical identification, traceability and segregation of Eligible Ingredients throughout all processes under the control of the UoC.

4.5.4.2. As a minimum, the procedures shall

  1. Include a clear description of the identification, segregation and traceability system
  2. define relevant records required
  3. define controls in place to
    1. prevent mixing of Eligible Ingredients with Non-eligible Ingredients and Non-aquafeed Ingredients (e.g., Livestock)
    2. prevent mixing of product produced under the Segregation Production Model with product produced under the Mass Balance Production Model and Non-ASC product
  4. where rework or reworking operations are performed, segregation and traceability shall be maintained

4.5.4.3. The Client shall conduct a verification test of their segregation and traceability system that is applicable for the range of products produced under the Segregation Production Model.

4.5.4.4. The test shall verify that:

  1. Traceability of an Eligible Ingredient can be determined from the ingredient manufacturer to the finished product dispatched to immediate customer (i.e., a forward’s trace check) and
  2. Traceability can be determined from a finished product back to the ingredient manufacturer of each Eligible Ingredient used in the manufacture of that product produced under the Segregation Production Model (i.e., a backwards trace check). 
  3. Segregation can be maintained.

4.5.4.5. Traceability test results should be achievable within 4 hours.

4.5.4.6. The test shall occur at a predetermined frequency and at a minimum annually with no more than twelve (12) months between tests.

4.5.4.7. Traceability test results shall be retained for internal audits and audits by the CAB.

4.5.4.8. Non-conformities raised during this internal verification test of the traceability system shall be documented and include:

  1. corrective action plans
  2. timescales for completion
  3. assigned responsibility for verification of effectiveness of corrective action plans implemented
  4. close out of the non-conformity.

4.6. Identification

4.6.1. The Client shall clearly identify all ASC products, both physically for sealed feed bags, as well as on associated sales documents for all feed, indicating the Production Model applied. (i.e., Segregation or Mass Balance).

4.6.2. The Client shall identify ASC product which is sold under the Segregation Production Model by using a distinct feed name.

5.1 The Applicant shall contact accredited or applicant CABs to start an ASC certification process. The Accredited and applicant CABs list is available on the ASC and ASC appointed accreditation body website.

5.2 The applicant shall complete CABs’ application forms with truthful information and provide all the additional information the CAB may request in relation to the UoC and violations to environmental or social compliance.

5.3 When applying for certification, the Applicant shall specify the ASC Production Models they intend to use:

  1. Segregation Model
  2. Mass Balance Model
  3. Both.

5.4 The Applicant shall declare:

5.4.1 Outsourcing of any activities to third parties (e.g., subcontractors for storage, transport or other activities).

5.4.2 Production of other non-aquafeed products (e.g., livestock or poultry feed).

5.5 A Certificate Holder which had an ASC certificate withdrawn may only apply for a new ASC certification twelve (12) months after the date of the certificate withdrawal.

5.5.1 An Applicant which failed an ASC audit may apply again for certification in less than twelve (12) months, only with the same CAB with which it failed the audit.

5.6 An Applicant successfully prosecuted for the following situations shall not apply in less than 24 months:

  1. Carrying out fraudulent activities confirmed by the statutory authority.
  2. Use or involvement of Child labour, slavery, human trafficking or forced labour. 

5.7 The Applicant should review all the information sent by the CAB related to the ASC Requirements and the certification process. 

Prior to scheduling an initial audit, the Applicant shall comply with the following conditions:

6.1. The Applicant shall have a functioning Ingredient Accounting System (IAS) in place that can monitor the volumes of incoming Eligible Ingredients and account for the volumes of outgoing ASC feed produced under the Mass Balance Production Model. 

6.2. The Applicant shall have conducted at least one Ingredient Accounting System balancing exercise resulting in accurate calculation prior to the initial audit. Records of the exercise shall be maintained. 

6.2.1. This also applies where the Shared Ingredient Accounting System is in operation.

6.3. The Applicant shall have implemented Code of Conduct requirements i.e., the Applicant only sources from Ingredient Manufacturers which have declared that they meet the Code of Conduct.

6.4. The Applicant shall have completed Due Diligence processes for both Ingredient Manufacturers and Primary Raw Material Production as required by the standard in the last twelve (12) months.

6.5. The Applicant shall have calculated its Majority Sustainability Level (MSL) Entry Level.

6.6. The Applicant shall have conducted at least one internal audit in the last six (6) months against the ASC Requirements with corrective action plans implemented as required.

7.1. The Applicant shall provide the CAB with all the required information to define the Scope of Certification including:

  1. Applicable certification type (i.e., Single site or Multi-site)
  2. Activities and facilities under scope of the UoC before the product changes ownership. This includes but is not limited to production, storage, transport. 
  3. Production Model in use i.e., Mass Balance Production Model / Segregation Production Model or both.

7.2. The Certification Type may be either:

7.2.1. Single site Certification which shall have all the following elements: 

  1. The UoC is formed by one (1) production site and any associated facilities which has defined location(s) and area
  2. The Client is capable of signing a binding contract that is legally enforceable.
  3. The Client is the owner of the ASC product
  4. The Client is the only entity authorised to sell ASC product. 

7.2.2. Multi-site certification which shall have all of the following elements:

  1. The UoC consists of more than one site 
  2. The Client has an identified central function in charge of assuring the compliance against the ASC Requirements of all sites within the UoC and sites are either owned or subcontracted by the Client.
  3. The Client is responsible for compliance to ASC Requirements at all sites.
  4. The Client is capable of signing a binding contract that is legally enforceable. 
  5. The Client is the only entity authorised to sell ASC products from all sites.
  6. All sites are located within the same country.
  7. All individual sites and associated facilities shall be audited.

8.1. If the Applicant and the CAB agree to start the certification process, both shall sign a contract including the following elements:

8.1.1. That ASC retains the right to change the ASC Feed Standard and certification Requirements and that certification is conditional on conforming to a new or revised standard and new or revised Certification Requirements within the timeframes established by the ASC.

8.1.2. That the ASC shall have full access to all audit products including audit evidence, audit findings and audit reports including confidential annexes.

8.1.3. That the Client shall submit to ASC accurate production and sales data using the form and manner specified by the ASC.

8.1.4 That the Client shall allow the ASC to process and publish, excluding confidential annexes, UoC’s data and information collected from the certification process for the purpose of transparency as an integral part of the ASC certification programme.

8.1.5. That upon request, the CAB Auditor, ASC and the ASC appointed accreditation body shall have unrestricted access to data (except financial) in the Ingredient Accounting System.

8.1.6. That ASC and the ASC appointed accreditation body shall have the right to observe audits conducted by the CAB.

8.1.7. That ASC, ASC designated agent and ASC appointed accreditation body shall have the right to visit the Certificate Holders site(s) and any associated facilities within the scope of certification, including visits without prior notice for the purpose of verification of the integrity of ASC certification.

8.1.8. That the ASC appointed accreditation body shall have the right to conduct audits of the UoC, including unannounced audits, for the purpose of monitoring CAB conformity.

8.1.9. That ASC, ASC designated agents, ASC appointed accreditation body and the CAB shall have the right to collect product samples or other supporting samples (e.g., raw material ingredients) as evidence to confirm the Clients compliance against ASC Requirements (e.g., antibiotic or non-GM declarations) including products stored at subcontractor facilities, if applicable. 

8.1.9.1. This sampling may be conducted unannounced during ASC audits or at any other time. 

8.1.9.2. Costs incurred in testing shall be covered by the Client for samples taken and decided by the CAB during ASC audits.

8.1.10. That the CAB shall have access to all audit products of the latest third-party social audit, if any. This includes, but is not limited to audit reports, non-conformity reports, evidence of closure of non-conformities, and relevant confidential information.

8.1.11. That the Client shall have the right to raise their concerns or object to any of the proposed audit team members.

8.1.12. That the Client shall be responsible for informing the CAB, within fourteen (14) days of any changes made in the operation that may require oversight from the CAB. This can include, but is not limited to:

  1. Inclusion of new products which introduce a significant new risk to the facility e.g., addition of non-aquaculture feed
  2. Addition of new products under the Segregation Production Model, including the distinct feed name
  3. Changes in the number of sites (if a Multi-site Client).

8.1.13. That the client shall be responsible for informing the CAB within fourteen (14) days of the occurrence of any of the following situation(s):

  1. Fatal workplace accidents
  2. Legal compliance violations confirmed by the statutory authority on issues related to the scope of ASC feed standard and Requirements
  3. Recall of non-conforming ASC products due to incorrect ingredient formulation (e.g., Non-permitted substances, use of Non-eligible or Non-permitted Ingredients in an ASC product produced under the Segregation Production Model or, Non-permitted ingredients used in product produced under the Mass Balance Production Model).

9.1. The Client and the CAB shall plan to ensure that by the time the initial audit takes place:

  1. The site shall have been in operation for no less than six (6) months, and
  2. Has confirmed completion of the pre-requisite activities as defined in section 6 above.

9.2. The UoC shall have available records of performance data covering the periods of time specified in the ASC Feed standard.

9.3. The Client and CAB shall arrange the audit to occur at a time that the site is operational and in production.

9.4. The Client and the CAB should plan for audits in a way that ASC feed products are in production or Eligible Ingredients are stored in the UoC.

9.5. The Client shall:

  1. Ensure that only product intended for sale (no trial or mock production) will be evaluated; AND
  2. Allow the CAB to evaluate other activities within the scope of the UoC such as loading, even when they are implemented by subcontractors, or production of non-aquafeed, if applicable.

10.1. The client shall cooperate with the CAB to agree an audit date which ensures that there are no lapses in audit timing and also enables the CAB to publicly announce the audit on the ASC website at least 42 days before the scheduled audit date. 

10.1.1. Under exceptional circumstances the client may request a change to a scheduled audit date, the request should be made to the CAB at least 14 days before this scheduled date.

11.1. The client shall publish in a visible place for local communities and neighbours, the dates of the upcoming ASC audit with the CAB contact information in case they want to submit public comments.

11.2. The client may provide the CAB with contact information of stakeholders relevant to be contacted in the region where the UoC is located.

12.1. The client shall provide the information requested by the CAB to conduct a desk review before the audit.

12.2. The client should agree with the CAB on a provisional audit plan with the following information:

  1. Scope of the audit
  2. Draft work schedule
  3. Names and affiliation of proposed audit team members
  4. Information about the audit process to facilitate appropriate preparations for the audit.

12.3. The client may object to any audit team members where sufficiently justified.

13.1. The client shall arrange relevant personnel to attend different activities during the audit and make the necessary arrangements for the audit execution. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Invite management of the UoC and key relevant personnel, including workers and/or trade union representatives to the audit opening meeting
  2. Arrange transportation (where required) of the audit team members to the different premises within the UoC
  3. Arrange interviews with management and technical staff
  4. Provide the CAB access to all premises and facilities, including those that are subcontracted, within the scope of the UoC
  5. Provide all the documents and records requested by the CAB auditors within requested timeline
  6. Allow auditors to interview employees in private without the presence of management representatives or those in supervisory roles
  7. Invite management of the UoC and key relevant personnel, including workers and/or trade union representatives to the closing meeting.

13.2. The Client shall provide the CAB, during the audit, with a scheme or map of the facilities and production areas in order to plan the site tour.

14.1. The Client shall allow the CAB, ASC, ASC appointed accreditation body or designated agents to collect samples of feed product or other substances (water, ingredients, additives) during ASC audits to verify UoC’s compliance against the ASC standards.

14.2. The Client shall assist the CAB auditor with equipment available at the site and staff to collect the samples.

14.3. The client may request the CAB for a second test of the duplicate sample by the same laboratory to confirm results of the first test. 

14.3.1. The second test shall only be run for parameters being disputed

14.3.2. In case the second test produces a different result, the client shall accept results of a last (third) test.

15.1. When remote audit is allowed, the Certificate Holder shall arrange with the CAB for audit activities that will occur remotely. Those activities may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Witnessing production activities 
  2. Interviewing management staff
  3. Reviewing data, documents and records
  4. Conducting site tours
  5. Reviewing video recording or photographs (i.e., audit sampling activities).

15.2. The Certificate Holder may allow the CAB to collect and evaluate evidence remotely as part of any audit through data, documents and records reviews and management interviews.

15.3. The Certificate Holder may request the CAB to conduct fully remote audit for:

  1. Surveillance audits at single site or Multi-site UoC’s
  2. In either case the UoC shall:
    1. Possess a valid certificate (not suspended), AND 
    2. Have received no more than 5 major non-conformities in the previous audit.

15.4. The client shall agree with the CAB on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and measures to address issues related to confidentiality, security and data protection.

15.5. The client shall participate in tests in using ICTs required by the CAB prior to the actual remote audit to safeguard effective and secured remote audits or remote evidence collection.

16.1. During a CAB audit, and before the audit closing meeting, the client may request an opportunity to provide additional evidence to refute a non-conformity (minor, major or critical) raised by the CAB auditor.

16.2. Within a maximum of twenty-eight (28) days from the date of detection/closing meeting, the client shall provide to the CAB for each non-conformity:

  1. A root cause analysis of why the non-conformity occurred
  2. An expected action plan detailing correction(s) to solve the failure if possible, and corrective actions to address the root cause and prevent reoccurrence.

16.3. When the action plan is approved, the client shall submit to the CAB objective evidence of its effective implementation in the following timeframes from the detection date:

Non-conformityInitial auditDuring the validity of the certificate
MinorThree (3) monthsThree (3) months
MajorThree (3) monthsThree (3) months
CriticalThree (3) monthsImmediate suspensionThree (3) months

16.4. Non-conformities may be extended once, if the Client submits to the CAB evidence demonstrating that conformity was not possible due to circumstances beyond the control of the Client.

16.4.1. Non-conformities may be extended from the detection date for a maximum period of:

Non-conformityInitial auditDuring the validity of the certificate
MinorTwelve (12) monthsTwelve (12) months
MajorNo extensionSix  (6) months
CriticalNo extensionFourteen (14) days

16.5. The client shall submit in a timely manner, the relevant information to allow the CAB to review the information before the non-conformity closure deadline.

16.5.1. The Client should agree with the CAB on the timelines for non-conformities closure.

16.6. The Client should accept additional evaluations (either on-site or remote) to verify the effective implementation of the action plan.

16.7. If non-conformities are not closed or extended in the timeframes above the Client shall be aware that the following actions would be taken by the CAB.

Non-conformityInitial auditDuring the validity of the certificate
MinorFailed auditUpgrade to Major
MajorFailed auditCertificate Suspension
CriticalFailed auditCertificate Withdrawal

17.1. The Client shall have a documented procedure for managing non-conforming ASC product[9] that includes the following requirements:

17.1.1. Staff awareness to identify and report potential non-conforming product.

17.1.2. Secure storage and clear identification of non-conforming product still on site (e.g., via physical label and / or IT system).

17.1.3. Defined responsibilities for decision making on the use of products appropriate to the issue (e.g., down grading to Mass Balance Production Model product, downgrading to non-ASC status, use in non-aquafeed production, return to the supplier).

17.1.4. In the event of detecting non-conforming product, the Client shall:

  1. Immediately cease to sell or dispatch any implicated non-conforming product as Segregation Production Model product and, where relevant, Mass Balance Production Model product
  2. Assess and take necessary action for implicated ingredients or product still on site 
  3. Place further deliveries of implicated ingredient(s) in quarantine until necessary action has been taken
  4. If warranted, recall affected product.

17.1.5. The Client identifies and where applicable, downgrades the non-conforming product (e.g., from ASC to non-ASC product, from Segregation Production Model to Mass Balance Production Model product or from Eligible to non-eligible Ingredients) and relabels or re-identify as such prior to sale or other activities.

17.1.6. The Client shall notify their CAB within two (2) days of detecting the non-conforming product and inform the CAB of the implicated lots/batches of non-conforming product and actions taken to resolve the situation.

17.1.7. The Client shall notify any customers confirmed as having received non-conforming ASC product within two (2) days of detecting the non-conformity and inform the customer of potential impacts on any claims associated with this product.

17.1.8. The Client shall identify the reason the product is non-conforming and implement measures to prevent recurrence where necessary.

17.1.9. Records of decisions and actions taken shall be maintained and where relevant, the Ingredient Accounting System updated accordingly.

18.1. A Client which subcontracts storage and transport activities relating to ingredients or products within the scope of the ASC Feed Standard shall:

18.1.1. Demonstrate that all subcontractors handling Ingredients or ASC product comply with the traceability[10] requirements of this document.

18.1.2. Be able to request relevant records from the subcontracted storage and transport facilities.

18.1.3. Secure the CAB / the ASC or the ASC’s appointed accreditation body access to ASC Product at any time.

19.1. The client shall accept that all audit reports and related information, except confidential annexes, are published on the ASC website. This includes reports of failed audits, reasons for suspension or withdrawal.

19.2. The client may agree with the CAB to keep commercially sensitive information in confidential annexes, submitted separately to the ASC in confidence.

19.2.1. Confidential annexes will not be public, however the ASC and ASC appointed accreditation body shall have access to them.

19.3. The client shall submit the root cause analysis and corrective action plan within the timelines as specified in 16.2 to ensure inclusion in the draft audit report before submission for publication.

19.4. The client may follow up with the CAB to ensure compliance with the following timeframes:

Timeframe
Draft report submission42 days after the audit closing meeting
Public consultation period21 days after draft report publication on ASC website
Final report + Certification decision28 days after end of public consultation
Surveillance audit reports98 days after the audit closing meeting

20.1. When well justified, the client shall be aware that the CAB may need more time to take the certification decision.

20.1.1. The client shall agree with the CAB on arrangements for a full (repeat) audit in case the certification decision is not taken within six (6) months from the audit closing meeting.

20.2. The client shall confirm the certificate registration and publication on the ASC website before starting the sales of ASC products.

21.1. The Client holding a valid certificate (Certificate Holder) may claim that its operation is certified in accordance with the ASC Feed Standard subject to the scope of its certificate.

21.2. The Certificate Holder shall enter into an ASC Licensing Agreement to use the ASC logo, claims and other trademarks on ASC products in accordance with the License Agreement[11].

21.3. A Certificate Holder shall only use the ASC Logo and trademarks if a License Agreement has been signed.

21.4. All use of the ASC logo and claims on promotional material and on product shall be submitted to ASC for approval prior to printing and a record of approval maintained.

21.5. The Client shall only make ASC related claims, including claims on the Production Model when it holds a valid certificate and where relevant, a valid Logo License Agreement.

21.6. The Client shall follow the ASC Claims User Guide.

21.7. The Client shall report to the CAB within two (2) days of discovering any incorrect use of the claim (See Non-Conforming Product section 17 above).

21.8. In cases where the Client sells ASC product to an entity other than directly to an ASC certified farm, e.g., trader or distributor, the Client:

21.8.1. Shall pack ASC product with tamper proof & traceable labels or seals (i.e., a label or seal with a traceable identification which is destroyed when the container or bag is opened).

21.8.2. Shall have a mechanism to prevent the entity from misusing the Client’s name or re-use of the Client’s packaging.

21.8.3. Should obtain written commitment from the entity that they will not permit misuse or tampering of the ASC product while in their ownership.

22.1. The Client and the CAB shall plan at least 2 surveillance audits during the three (3) year certification cycle.

22.1.1. Surveillance audits shall be conducted annually with a window of three (3) months before or after the anniversary of the initial certification decision.

22.1.2. Two surveillance audits should not be carried out with less than six (6) months between them.

23.1. The Client shall accept unannounced audits by the CAB with no more than 48 hours’ notification.

23.2. The Client’s certificate shall be suspended where the Client does not accept the second attempt of an unannounced audit by the CAB.

23.2.1. The suspension shall only be lifted when another unannounced audit is accepted and completed, and any major or critical non-conformities are closed.

24.1. The Certificate Holder should start applying for re-certification six (6) months before the expiry date of the certificate to avoid a gap in certification validity.

25.1. The Certificate Holder may request the CAB to extend the validity of the certificate once, by up to three (3) months, only in cases when there are conditions outside the control of the Certificate Holder that prevents the execution of the audit.

25.2. To request an extension, the Certificate Holder shall apply to the CAB for re-certification and the application shall have been accepted by the CAB at or before the end of the period of validity of the certificate.

26.1. A decision to transfer a certificate from one CAB (preceding CAB) to another CAB (succeeding CAB) shall be voluntary by the Certificate Holder.

26.2. The Certificate Holder may request a certificate transfer only once within the period of validity of a certificate.

26.2.1. If the Certificate Holder wishes to change CABs more than once within the period of the certificate validity, the Certificate Holder shall accept full ASC initial audits by the second and all other succeeding CABs.

26.3. The Certificate Holder may not request a transfer if:

  1. The certificate is suspended.
  2. Critical and major non-conformities have not been closed to the satisfaction of the succeeding CAB.

26.4. The Certificate Holder may agree with the succeeding CAB:

  1. To carry out a transfer audit within three (3) months after the agreed transfer date according to the requirements for a surveillance audit, OR
  2. Follow the Certificate Holder’s surveillance audit planning.

27.1. The client shall inform the CAB within fourteen (14) days about any change that might affect the scope of the UoC or scope of the certificate. This includes:

  1. Reporting conditions described in contractual requirements.
  2. Any other change to the certified operation determined by the CAB as requiring an onsite audit.

28.1. The client may decide to cancel its certificate at any time.

28.1.1. The client shall inform the CAB of its decision and reason(s) to cancel a certificate.

28.2. The Certificate Holder shall follow the actions requested by the CAB to lift the suspension in a situation where the certificate is suspended.

28.3. If the Certificate Holder does not address the reasons of the suspension in the timeframe set by the CAB, its certificate shall be withdrawn.

28.4. The client shall accept that its cancellation/suspension/withdrawal status and reasons are published on the ASC website.

28.5. The client, whose certificate is suspended, withdrawn, or cancelled shall:

  1. Immediately stop selling and/or promoting any product produced from the date of suspension, withdrawal or cancellation as ASC compliant or with the ASC logo, Trademarks or claims
  2. Advise existing and potential customers in writing of the suspension, withdrawal or cancellation within four (4) days of the suspension, withdrawal or cancellation date.

28.6. The Client whose certificate was withdrawn may only apply for ASC certification again after a minimum of twelve (12) months from the date of withdrawal.

28.7. The Client found not following the above requirements in 28.5 a or b shall not re-apply to the programme within thirty-six (36) months from the date of discovery or disclosure to the CAB.

29.1. Clients are encouraged to submit to ASC in confidence, its feedback of each audit process within twenty-eight (28) days after the last day of the audit.

29.1.1. ASC shall keep clients’ feedback confidential and only use in an aggregated manner for analysis and improvement of the programme.

29.2. The client may appeal to a certification decision by a CAB if it is evident that:

  1. The CAB personnel have not taken all submitted evidence into account when taking the certification decision, OR
  2. The CAB personnel have not followed requirements laid out in the ASC CAR or other normative references for the certification process (e.g., auditor competence, conflict of interests, response timelines), OR
  3. The CAB have misinterpreted ASC standard indicators or other applicable requirements.

1.1.1. The client shall follow the CAB’s appeal procedure for such objection.

29.3. Clients may file a complaint with the CAB, following their complaints procedure if dissatisfied with the performance of the CAB.

29.3.1. Clients are encouraged to send a copy of the complaint to ASC and the ASC appointed accreditation body (ASI).

29.3.2. A copy of the complaint can be sent to ASC at:
Email: complaints@asc-aqua.org

Mailing Address:
Aquaculture Stewardship Council
Daalseplein 101,
3511 SX Utrecht
The Netherlands

29.4. If clients are dissatisfied with the CAB’s complaint resolution mechanism, they may escalate to the ASC appointed accreditation body, following their complaint procedure (https://www.asi-assurance.org/s/quality)

30.1. The Applicant and/or Certificate Holder shall allow information such as, but not limited to, site locations and audit reports to be published on the ASC website.

30.2. Any data submitted by the Client and the CAB during the certification process shall be held and processed in line with the ASC data retention and data ownership policies. The policies can be found on the ASC website.

31.1. The Certificate Holder shall provide required data to the ASC in the form, manner and frequency as specified in ASC Standards and other ASC Requirements.

Follow this link to the ASC Vocabulary Portal.

All requirements in the ASC Feed Certification and Accreditation Requirements and this document also apply to clients applying for Multi-site certification unless specifically stated otherwise in this annex.

B1. Requirements for Multi-site certification

B.1.1. All sites in the UoC shall:

  1. Maintain a legally binding link (i.e., direct ownership, lease or contract) with the Client.
  2. Operate within the same country.

B.1.2. The Client shall have a designated central office that has the responsibility and authority to manage the Multi-site UoC´s conformity to the ASC Requirements.

B.1.3. The central office is responsible for the oversight and implementation of the complaints procedures for managing complaints submitted by stakeholders and staff members as specified in the ASC Feed standard.

B.1.4. The central office shall notify the CAB if they wish to add a new site to the Multi-site. In this case the new site shall:

B.1.4.1. Receive an Initial audit by the CAB.

B.1.4.2. Show compliance to all ASC Requirements before being included in the scope of the certificate.

B.1.4.3. The new site may be included in the scope of the Multi-site certificate without an audit if it has a valid ASC single site or Multi-site certificate, received a CAB audit in the last 12 months and there are no open major or critical non-conformities. In this case the Multi-site Certificate Holder shall:

  1. Inform the CAB about the proposed certified site addition
  2. If the site is certified with a different CAB, the client shall start a certificate transfer process to the CAB maintaining the Multi-site certificate.
  3. The CAB may decide to conduct an onsite audit based on the review of the latest audit reports and other information.

Note: requirements for qualifications and competencies detailed in Table A,B and C below, apply only when pathway 2 Sectoral Assessment  or pathway 3 Ingredient Manufacturer Assessments are used for Due Diligence. 

Table A 

Qualifications and competencies for ALL individuals conducting Due Diligence.

Individual(s) conducting Ingredient Risk Assessments shall possess the following qualifications and competencies. Qualification / Competency can be demonstrated by both internal or external resources, so long as the below criteria is collectively met.

Qualification / CompetencyRequirements
EducationThe individual shall have at least a post-high school diploma or equivalent (minimum course duration of two (2) years).
Work Experience
  • The individual shall have 3 years of experience in the relevant sector under assessment (e.g., industrial processes, agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, forestry)
  • The individual(s) shall have experience conducting Supply Chain Risk Assessment, Risk Management or Other Due Diligence assessments in a similar sector.
TrainingThe individual(s) shall have completed the ASC Feed Standard training module provided by the ASC (once available).

Table B 

Qualifications and competencies for individuals conducting Due Diligence on Legal and Environmental Risks in the fisheries sector.

In addition to table A, individual(s) conducting Due Diligence relating to fisheries shall possess the following qualifications and competencies. Qualification / Competency can be demonstrated by both internal or external resources, so long as the below criteria is collectively met. 

Qualification / CompetencyRequirements
Education– The individual shall have a university degree in fisheries, marine conservation biology, natural resources, environmental management, or another relevant field.
Work Experience– The individual shall have worked in:Fishery management and operations:
  • at least 3 years of experience as a practicing fishery manager and/or fishery policy analyst, OR
  • Fish stock assessment: at least 3 years of experience as a leader in the production of peer reviewed stock assessments, OR
– Fish stock biology/ecology: at least 3 years of experience working in fisheries biology and population dynamics, OR
– Fishing impacts on aquatic ecosystems: at least 3 years of experience in research into, policy analysis for, or management of fisheries impacts on aquatic ecosystems.
Training
  • Successfully completed a relevant fishery assessment training, (e.g., online MSC fishery assessor training modules) OR, Currently listed on the MSC’s Register as a technical consultant or associate technical consultant
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of the types of management system(s) and laws applicable to the fishery under assessment
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of CITES and IUCN
  • Demonstrate a good understanding of how to identify Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing.

Table C 

Qualifications and competencies for individuals conducting Due Diligence on Social risks.

In addition to table A, individual(s) conducting Due Diligence of social risks shall possess the following qualifications and competencies. Qualification / Competency can be demonstrated by both internal or external resources, so long as the below criteria is collectively met

Qualification / CompetencyRequirements
Education– The individual shall have a university or post graduate degree in Social Science, or another relevant field related to social impacts.
Work Experience– The individual shall have experience conducting Due Diligence or social risk assessments
Specific for social risks at fisheries: The individual shall demonstrate experience working to address social issues in fisheries or fishing communities.
Training– The individual shall have knowledge of local labour and human rights legislation for the country of the sector under assessment
– Demonstrate a good understanding of how to identify forced and child labour
Specific for social risks at fisheries: The individual shall attend a training on fisheries social risk assessment or training in a recognised fisheries social programme. (See the ASC website for recognised schemes).

Table D 

Feed Mill Internal Auditor qualifications and competencies (as referenced in Criterion 1.2 of the ASC Feed Standard)

Internal Auditors evaluating the UoC’s compliance against the ASC Requirements through, annually scheduled internal audits shall possess the following qualifications and competencies.

Qualification / CompetencyRequirements
Education– The individual shall have at least a post-high school diploma AND
– The individual shall have a general knowledge of management systems standards (such as ISO 9001), applicable procedures or other management systems documents used as audit criteria
AND
– The individual shall understand the social, economic and cultural relationships in employee communities.
Work Experience– The individual shall have experience relevant to the scope of certification, e.g., feed manufacturing / milling / animal nutrition.
Training– The individual shall have successfully completed an Internal Auditor training course based on ISO 19011 principles that has a minimum duration of sixteen (16) hours. The course provider shall be accredited by the International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA), Exemplar Global or demonstrable equivalent AND 
– The individual(s) shall have completed the ASC Feed standard training module provided by the ASC (once available)  AND 
– The individual shall have successfully completed a training course for auditing social requirements provided by a certification body or professional training institution specialised in social auditing (only applicable to internal auditors auditing social requirements).
Audit Experience– The individual shall have observed at least three (3) management system audits.

Table E 

Feed Mill Health and Safety qualifications and competencies for staff implementing ASC Feed Standard criterion 1.7

Staff responsible for health and safety of employees at feed mills shall collectively possess the following qualifications.

Qualification / CompetencyRequirements
Education– The individual shall fulfill local regulations related to minimum education required depending on the number of employees and the level of risk of the organisation.
– If the country does not have a local regulation related to minimum education based on the number of employees and level of risk, the individual shall fulfill the following education qualifications:
– 10 to 49 employees: post high school diploma.
– 50 to 99 employees: post high school diploma and a postgraduate degree in labour health and safety.
– ≥100 employees: post high school diploma and a postgraduate degree in health and safety.
Work Experience– The individual shall have experience managing health and safety systems at industrial facilities for at least two (2) years.
Health and Safety training– The individual shall have experience managing health and safety systems at industrial facilities for at least two (2) years.
– The individual shall fulfill local regulations related to minimum specific health and safety training hours required depending on the number of workers and the level of risk of the organization.
– If the country does not have a local regulation related to minimum specific health and safety training hours based in the number of employees and the level of risk, the individual shall fulfill the following training qualifications:
  • 10 to 49 employees: ≥ 50 hours.
  • 50 to 99 employees: ≥ 100 hours. 
  • ≥100 employees: ≥ 200 hours.