• Last week FDA published an updated version of The Seafood List: FDA Guide to Determine Acceptable Seafood Names: Guidance for Industry, which is intended to be used in conjunction with FDA’s The Seafood List to determine acceptable market names (i.e., common or usual names) for seafood products.
  • The principles of the guidance document have not changed, but the document has been updated for ease of understanding and to add examples of acceptable seafood names, the most significant of which is the addition of “Kanpachi (Ocean-Farmed)” as an acceptable market name for Amberjack (Seriola rivoliana) as required by the 2023 consolidated appropriations act.
  • The Seafood List includes “acceptable market names,” as well as “common names,” which are established by accredited scientific fishery resources and recognized within U.S. commerce, “scientific names”, and “vernacular names.” Whereas “common names” are acceptable market names unless prohibited by law or regulation (indicated by a † symbol next to the common name in The Seafood List), vernacular names are generally not acceptable, and scientific names are not in themselves acceptable market names, although they can be used to supplement the market name in product labeling. The guidance establishes a hierarchy of principles though which acceptable market names for seafood products should be selected:  
    1. Use a name established by law or regulation.
    2. Use a nationally recognized and commonly used name.
    3. Use a “common name” (established by scientific fishery resources).
    4. Use an established international name or a name that is widely recognized and commonly used in the country of origin.
    5. Use a coined or fanciful name. 
  • The first available name at each step should be used, unless the name is false, misleading, or contrary to law or regulation, in which case the next step should be used to select a name.  In most cases, the selection of a seafood name should be a straightforward matter of selecting from the acceptable market names or common names (unless specifically prohibited) in The Seafood List. However, the guidance document is useful to understand the list and to select names in more difficult cases.