Government support critical for standards recognition

By: Seafood Services Australia  06-Oct-2005

The Joint Accreditation System of Australia New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and Seafood Services Australia (SSA) have called for a coordinated approach to promote industry seafood safety standards in Australia. The call came at the end of the 6th World Congress on Seafood Safety, Quality and Trade in Sydney. Australias seafood industry, worth almost $2 billion in export revenue alone, was the focus of global attention during the Congress. SSA spokeswoman, Jayne Gallagher said the recognition of industry standards by regulatory agencies provided an opportunity for the Australian seafood industry to further enhance its reputation as a world leader in seafood safety. Regulatory standards are designed to catch the cowboys and protect consumers. However, through promotion of the more stringent industry standards in support of the regulatory benchmarks, we will enhance our reputation as world leaders in seafood safety. This creates enormous benefits all along the supply chain, she said. The government have always been very supportive of the industrys efforts to improve seafood safety. We are working closely with regulatory agencies to achieve recognition of industry standards. Industry standards contain in-built market incentives for producers and this drives the quality of our seafood higher all the time. SSA has worked closely with JAS-ANZ to develop the industrys product certification program. JAS-ANZ is also responsible for the ongoing accreditation of conformity assessment bodies, which are responsible for certifying seafood products as having met the industrys stringent standards. One of the main objectives of the partnership was to take advantage of JAS-ANZs expertise in gaining mutual recognition and acceptance of standards by Australia and New Zealands trading partners. JAS-ANZ Chief Executive Officer, Tony Craven said the promotion of non-regulatory standards has enormous potential for the seafood industry. JAS-ANZ has in place multilateral arrangements with international organisations like the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), which means that product certification schemes which are accredited by us are recognised and accepted by Australia and New Zealands trading partners. In other words, one standard, one certificate, accepted everywhere, he said. This drives down the costs of compliance and these savings can be passed right through the supply chain. It also increases consumer confidence which leads to greater consumption of the product. Government support of non-regulatory standards is critical to reducing non-tariff barriers to trade for Australian and New Zealand industry, said Tony Craven.

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