Food safety & Quality schemes

A strict European legislative context

The EU has an integrated approach to food safety through coherent farm-to-fork measures and good monitoring, while ensuring the effective functioning of the internal market.

The Irish mussel industry is strictly controlled to ensure that mussels arriving to consumers comply with European Food safety legislation. A number of official authorities in Ireland work in coordination to ensure compliance on all levels including bacterial and biotoxin monitoring programs.  These include the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Marine Institute.  For more information on food safety and mussels

Quality schemes

The Irish Quality Mussel Scheme.

This scheme assure buyers that the mussels have guaranteed meat yield, and excellent flavour and texture. It also assures that they have been harvested, processed and packed under the strictest levels of food hygiene, while also proving the product can be fully traced from harvest to packed processed product. More information

The British Retail Consortium

The BRC Global Standards are a leading global product safety and quality certification program used by certificated suppliers in over 100 countries. Many Irish processing premises are certified under this scheme.More information

Organic and Eco-label Mussels

Organic Mussels

Organic production of mussels in Europe is governed by EU Commission Regulation 710/2009.  The organic requirements for mussels look at stocking density, seed collection sustainability and sustainable management plan following the principles of organic production.  Products that meet these requirements can carry the EU organic logo.

Eco-labelling of mussels

Friend of the Sea logo

The difference between organic and eco-labeling is sometimes hard to see.  Essentially organic standards only apply to farmed animals, including farmed fish and shellfish.  Eco-labels standards can be for wild products as well as farmed ones.  They set standards for the environmental responsibility of the farmer or fisherman or the sustainability of the stock that is being fished.  The best known eco-label for seafood is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).  This sets standards for sustainable wild fisheries.   Other standards include Friend of the Sea and the Seafish UK responsible fishing scheme

Irish Ecolabel mussels are certified under the BIM Irish Quality Mussel Eco-label, which specifically addresses issues with mussel sustainability in both seed collection and on growing.

Strict controls

The Irish mussel industry is strictly controlled to ensure that mussels arriving to consumers comply with European Food safety legislation. A number of official authorities in Ireland work in coordination to ensure compliance on all levels including bacterial and biotoxin monitoring programs.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has the statutory function of co-ordinating the enforcement of food legislation at national level. The principal function of the FSAI is to take all reasonable steps to ensure that food produced, distributed or marketed in the State meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene, reasonably attainable and to ensure that food complies with legal requirements, or where appropriate with recognised codes of good practice.

The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) is the Competent Authority for the enforcement of Seafood Safety Legislation on the island of Ireland and throughout Irish territorial waters. The SFPA is an Official Agency of the FSAI, operating under a Service Contract. The SFPA implements, manages and monitors the National Microbiological Sampling Program. SFPA Sea-Fisheries Protection Officers act as Shellfish Managers and are responsible for supervising a number of assigned production areas.

The Marine Institute (MI) is an Official Agency of the FSAI operating under a Service Contract and has been designated as the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for monitoring the microbiological and virological contamination of bivalve shellfish. The MI coordinates the activities of the national testing laboratories involved in the microbiological monitoring programme ensuring high quality standards for the relevant analysis are maintained. The MI also provides advice on monitoring programmes and a range of support services to the competent authorities.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is the State Agency with responsibility for developing the Irish seafood industry.

Bord Bia is the State Agency with the responsibility to develop and promote Irish food, drink and horticulture sector.