Food safety authority to intensify oversight of major players following series of incidents

Editorial Staff

New enhanced scrutiny follows a rise in disease outbreaks and high mortality rates among farmed fish.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) has announced plans to employ new inspection methods in 2024 to monitor animal welfare and fish health within the aquaculture industry.

The authority will specifically focus on six of the largest aquaculture companies.

In the upcoming year, Mattilsynet intends to conduct comprehensive audits of these major companies, closely examining their practices related to animal welfare and fish health.

This initiative follows a rise in disease outbreaks and high mortality rates among farmed fish. The authority seeks to ensure that these large aquaculture firms have adequate systems, routines, and internal controls in place to comply with regulatory requirements concerning animal welfare and health.

A key aspect of the audits will be the evaluation of biosafety and animal welfare practices, particularly in relation to delousing procedures.

Ingunn Midttun Godal, the Managing Director of Mattilsynet, emphasized the significant impact of larger companies within the industry.

“The largest farming companies own the most fish. We believe that an improvement at system level at these companies will lead to increased welfare for most animals,” she said. “Any deviations or points for improvement must be followed up at all levels within the relevant company.”

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More effective inspection methods

The six companies were selected based on criteria such as the size measured in the number of fish, with larger players having a more substantial impact on overall fish welfare and health.

The selection was also influenced by a comprehensive assessment of incidents, lice counts, mortality rates, and regulatory violations.

The specific companies to be audited were not disclosed.

Godal stated that the revision team is part of Mattilsynet’s effort to implement new and more effective inspection methods to improve fish welfare and health. The audit reports will be published on Mattilsynet’s website following each individual audit.

The first audit report is scheduled to be published in March, according to Mattilsynet.


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