AUGUSTA — Maine’s red, white and blue quality trademark is now available for Maine-harvested shellfish thanks to a special modification of rules by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The image has been used for decades to identify other Maine agricultural and natural resource products. The newly modified rules allow shellfish dealers to use this logo to promote Maine shellfish.
The idea to establish standards for the shellfish industry came from the Department of Marine Resources Shellfish Advisory Council.
“We’ve seen other industries like lobster use a seal of approval such as the Marine Stewardship Council’s certification to help their marketing efforts,” said council Chair Lewis Pinkham. “We looked at all sorts of avenues to help tell customers that this industry is sustainable and meets the highest standards, and it turned out that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry had it in place.”
“Maine shellfish dealers meet an extremely high standard for health and safety and deserve credit for providing consumers with a consistently exceptional product,” said DMR Public Health Bureau Director Kohl Kanwit. “The quality Maine trademark will give consumers an immediately recognizable symbol that communicates the Maine shellfish industry’s commitment to quality.”
The symbol may be used in advertising or packaging materials to market molluscan shellfish including mussels, clams or oysters that have been harvested exclusively in Maine.
Licensed users must have a product recall procedure and must be compliant with applicable federal and state regulations. They also must hold a current and valid shellfish sanitation certificate issued by the Department of Marine Resources. Licensed users also must make health inspection records from the DMR available for review and must allow DACF staff to inspect and analyze all products labeled with the Maine Quality Trademark.
Renewal of the license to use the Maine Quality Trademark is contingent on the applicant having been compliant with the DACF regulation that establishes the standards for its use.
To use the symbol, shellfish dealers must complete a license application available online.