About Seafood Inspection

Seafood in the United States is subject to the requirements of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, administered by the Food and Drug Administration. Under the FDA’s mandatory fish inspection program and voluntary quality inspection programs, the vast majority of seafood in the marketplace is safe to eat.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The FDA runs a mandatory fish inspection program for all seafood processors and retailers, both domestic and international. Seafood processors are required to implement a program called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP). Under the HACCP program, seafood is monitored at critical points along the supply chain. The program works by preventing food safety problems from developing, rather than testing food after production to see whether it is safe. Learn more about the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Program.

NOAA Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program

NOAA Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program, which is part of the Department of Commerce, is a voluntary, fee-for-service program that works with other agencies to provide science-based inspection services to the seafood industry to ensure safe, high-quality seafood.

  • To ensure businesses are meeting or exceeding the FDA’s HACCP requirements, they can voluntarily request help from the Seafood Inspection Program to develop, implement, and verify a plan that shows they are following the law. NOAA inspectors also inspect for specific quality requirements.
  • NOAA’s consumer safety inspectors and officers travel to fishing vessels, processors, and cold storage facilities around the world to evaluate seafood processors and retailers who have requested an inspection or who are under investigation.
  • If these businesses pass inspection, they are considered an Approved Establishment, but are subject to all standard regulatory inspections by the FDA. To find out whether your fish has been inspected by NOAA Fisheries Seafood Inspection Program, check the label. It might say U.S. Grade A or USDC inspected.