How To Become Species-Certified

The US SVS label is a great way to show your commitment to food safety and to demonstrate best practices in seafood sourcing. Restaurants and retail stores can apply for certification on a per-species basis. Certain fish and seafood is at higher risk for fraud so typically it is just those species that you will want to have certified. Once your product passes certification, you can begin using the US SVS designation publicly within your business. Using the US SVS label on menus, signage and elsewhere will demonstrate your organization's commitment to food safety, environmental responsibility, and market integrity through species verification.

The rigorous, independent assessment process ensures credibility and provides both you and your customers with the assurance that your products are reliable. Use of the US SVS label is permitted only where there has been sufficient, independent verification that the product is species verified. Our proven process ensures appropriate standards are being met.  


Certification Process

US SVS certification is available on a per species, per location basis. The no-hassle certification process encompass a designated number of random tests of your product per year. The fee charged covers visits by our professionally trained certifiers, product analysis according to federally approved standards, reporting to you and your use of the US SVS logo. All results are kept confidential between you and US SVS. We do not report results to anyone without your permission.

To discuss fees and apply for certification, contact us



 What does US SVS 'Species Certified' mean?

The US SVS Species Certified program provides an opportunity for restaurants and retail stores to ensure the fish and seafood product being purchased and sold is what it is labeled to be. It is a voluntary program that adheres to federal testing standards. In order for you to label seafood as US SVS Species Certified, you must meet our testing standards and protocol. This certification verifies that there are processes in place to accurately ensure your product is correctly labeled.  


Why do I need certification?

Technically, you don’t. However, numerous national studies show that it is highly likely that the seafood you are selling may not be the species it is said to be. There is absolutely no way of confirming that the product you buy is actually the species it is labeled to be unless you have it scientifically tested according to federally-accepted standards.


What are the benefits of obtaining certification?

US SVS certification can be a unique selling point for your restaurant or retail store. Proper testing assures you and your customers that the product you are buying and selling is accurately labeled. Sourcing and selling seafood that is US SVS Species Certified can be part of your commitment to food safety, environmental responsibility, and market integrity.


Why isn’t certification required now to sell seafood?

Restaurants and retail outlets are required to accurately label products based on FDA-approved guidelines.  However, given the prevalence of mislabeling at various points in the supply chain, state and federal governments have begun to enforce and also propose new regulations to protect public health, environmental responsibility, and market integrity.  Two such proposals that could require seafood authenticity testing would be the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE) Act. 

These acts have increased public and retail awareness for the issue and demand for accountability.  Species Certified provided by the US SVS offers restaurants and retail outlets credibility to consumers and regulatory agencies alike.


What does USSVS Species Certified involve?

Restaurants and retail stores can apply to have their fish and seafood product certified on a per species basis. As some types of seafood are at greater risk of fraud, it is typically not necessary to have all of the product you sell certified.

Confirmation of accurate results following a designated number of inspections will enroll the species at the retail outlet US SVS Species Certified.  Random, appropriately timed inspections will continue for the duration of participation in the program.  While accuracy is maintained, the US SVS Species Certified logo can be used.  


Is it possible to get certified more quickly?

Yes. An aggressive certification schedule can be established based upon your needs.


Where is the testing done?

Species authenticity testing for the US SVS is performed by specialized scientists at a nationally recognized university diagnostic laboratory.  The highly accurate tests used have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.


How can I use the US SVS label?

Once you are certified, you are able to use the official US SVS label on your menus, signage, website and marketing materials. The US SVS label can be used until withdrawal from the certification program or until a failure of species authenticity is identified.

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