Inspection and Grading of Seafood

Inspection: Unlike mandatory meat and poultry inspections, fish and shellfish inspections are voluntary. They are a fee-for-service program that is governed by the United States Department of Commerce.

  • Type 1 inspections cover plant, product, and processing methods from the raw fish to the final fish product.
  • Type 2 inspections are usually performed in a warehouse and determine whether the fish product complies with purchase agreement criteria.
  • Type 3 inspections are solely for sanitation. Fishing vessels or plants that meet the requirements are included in a list of approved sources made available to governmental and institutional purchasing agents.

Grading: Only seafood that is processed under Type 1 inspection are eligible for grading. The grades assigned to seafood are A, B, or C.

  • Grade A products are top quality with good flavor, good odor, and generally free of physical defects. This grade is available in retail markets and served in foodservice. All Certified Steak and Seafood fish and shellfish are hand picked from Grade A source.
  • Grades B and C are lesser quality and typically canned or processed.