Get Certified - Local Education Authority (LEA) or Contract Caterers

Get Certified - Local Education Authority (LEA) or Contract Caterers

The Chain of Custody’ (CoC) standard is a traceability certification which ensures that fish sold with the blue MSC ecolabel or name comes with a solid guarantee that it came from a certified fishery that meets the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing. 


Within the supply chain each legal owner of MSC products, including school caterers, must gain a CoC certificate to ensure that they uphold traceability requirements set out in the standard.   These companies must be certified to the MSC CoC standard by independent third-party certifiers, who are in turn accredited by a fourth-party accreditation organisation. Without this certification, organisations are unable to make claims that the products they sell are MSC certified, as there is not a guarantee of traceability.  Without this the MSC can’t ensure that it protects those fishers that have committed to the MSC sustainability programme.


Excellent annual  DNA traceability results  are a testament to companies that uphold their CoC, providing confidence to consumers that their MSC certified sustainable seafood is traceable to the MSC certified fishery that it originated from and furthermore, that the species listed on packaging is indeed the species written on the label (see our press release here). 


How to gain CoC certification for your schools:

To gain this certificate your organisation will need to have an audit (carried out by an independent certifier) and put in place some procedures to adhere to the requirements of the CoC.  For many catering companies the procedures you use will fit in with existing Quality Assurance procedures you may have.  Once certified, the certificate will last for three years.


In sum, the standard requires;

  1. Purchase of MSC certified seafood from a MSC certified supplier (n.b you can purchase non certified seafood but you must only apply the MSC trademarks against MSC certified dishes).
  2. Adhere to the requirements under the CoC standard; This essentially ensures the MSC certified products are traceable from the point of purchase to the point of sale. Tools used to help ensure MSC certified products are identifiable at all points include checking delivery notes, using separate shelves, stickers, correct menu artwork)
  3. Staff training:  To ensure staff that purchase or handle MSC certified products understand the meaning of MSC certified sustainable seafood products and understand how to uphold the requirements of the standard in their kitchen.
  4. Apply to the MSC for a Ecolabel Licence Agreement:  Free to education institutes, the Licence Agreement provides catering operators with the artwork needed to promote your use of MSC certified products on menus and in online/printed literature.
  5. Annual internal audits:  This helps check that staff training is up to date and the products that you serve to children are fully traceable.  Your auditor may also conduct sample audits at some of your school kitchens. 


 There are two approaches to get certified;

  1. Through a supplier who operates a ‘group chain of custody certificate’.  These suppliers include;



2.  Through a contract caterer who manage a 'group Chain of Custody certificate' for some of their contracts;





Alliance in Partnership






Eden Foodservice


ISS Education


Greenwich Service Plus Limited (GSPlus)


Taylor Shaw



For either of these approaches, please contact your account manager at the above firms to see if they are able provide certification for your schools.  In the past these suppliers have offered certification for free but this may be dependent on your existing contract and the purchasing approach that your schools operate which determines the ‘risk’ factors.

If they can offer certification for your schools, these businesses will supply relevant information for you to start your certification process.  


3.  Independently as a LEA or contract caterer;  For this approach you can use a ‘group certificate’ model which allows you to include as many schools as you like under your certificate.  Alternatively you can use a ‘Single Site’ or multiple site certificate, which allow 1- 10 (approx.) kitchens on your certificate. 


Please download the below document to find more about this approach.  

Download file
Sustainable Seafood in School

Fish & Kids is a project of the Marine Stewardship Council, designed to bring sustainable seafood sourcing to schools in the UK.