BAP Plant Standards Strengthened With Issue 4 Release

The May release of the updated Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards for seafood processing and repacking plants will help protect program integrity due to the clearer and/or more rigorous treatment of drugs, supplier monitoring, social responsibility and multi-star traceability.

As outlined in the Issue 4 processing plant standards, aquaculture drugs shall not be used unless they are approved by both the country of operation and the countries to which product is exported. Facilities are required to enforce this with their suppliers. There is also an additional clause requiring a risk analysis for drugs known to have been used or abused in the past. A statement was added to address secondary/value-added processors with regard to drug testing.

The definitions and rules surrounding the production of seafood at multi-star facilities and associated claims were clarified. Each certified farm, hatchery and/or feed mill must be identified, as well as the quantities of raw material and final product they handle. Seafood lots must carry unique codes or lot numbers for every star category.

To keep up to date with current issues and international norms, several standards related to social responsibility were added or revised. Wages must cover workers’ basic expenses with some left over for discretionary spending. The issue of deductions from wages was expanded to include recruitment and other fees that have the effect of forced labor/debt bondage. The anti-discrimination clause was expanded, as well as the standards addressing freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The requirements for product sampling were clarified in Issue 4. A representative of a third-party lab is required to be at the facility during the certification audit to take samples from lots identified by the auditor. Testing for antibiotics and microbial contaminants is more clearly defined for all raw and cooked primary product forms.

Non-compliant samples are better defined, and regulatory detention/alert/refusal is added as a non-compliant criterion. Tolerance for test results were modified according to more updated regulatory authority criteria. Testing frequency remains monthly, quarterly and semi-annually, but the conditions for reduced sampling are better explained.

The new Issue 4 standards are posted online at For currently certified processing plants and those already in the process of application, the new standards will be mandatory for recertification beginning November 1.