French supermarkets cast critical eye over Norwegian fish farms

Lars Erik Flatøy (centre)  pictured during the audit with Nordlaks quality manager Odd Johannessen (left), and the chief at  at Nordlaks Havfarmen, Trond Jørgen Hanssen (right)).

FRANCE has long been Norway’s largest European customer when it comes to buying farmed salmon.

But the French supermarkets like to see what they are getting and how the fish are being looked after.

So two of France’s largest supermarket chains, Carrefour and Auchan have just sent their own inspectors to the snow covered  north.

One of the facilities the team visited in the dark Nordic winter climate was the private company Nordlaks above the Arctic Circle.

The inspectors checked Nordlaks facilities and how the fish were doing and what they ate.

Lars Erik Flatøy who visited on behalf of Carrefour said he had been to a number of facilities during his tour.

Nordlaks says it has several voluntary certifications that cover both food safety and sustainability.

All of Nordlaks is certified according to the GlobalG.AP standard, while some locations are so-called ASC certified.

In addition to this, French supermarket chains have their own approvals with independent inspectors which have been in place since before the voluntary certifications became common.

Erik Flatøy said: “I look at, among other things, environmental aspects, fish health and fish welfare from roe to slaughtered fish and food safety at slaughterhouses and further processing.

“It is primarily to verify that quality and food safety are in accordance with the supermarkets’ standards which is most important, says Flatøy.

Three days were set aside for this year’s audit and Flatøy visited three plants in the sea, one smolt plant and the slaughterhouse.

In addition to personnel at the various locations, quality manager Odd Johannessen in Nordlaks has been present and answered questions.

Flatøy said at the end of  the audit that he was satisfied, despite three minor deviations.

“ It looks good and Nordlaks delivers according to the standards’ requirements. There are good systems and good quality control,  he added..

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