Promoting the benefits for consumers and industry

Seaweed Health Foundation / Standards Standards


In 2014 the Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Biodynamic Association to develop, together with seaweed producers and other organisations, a not-for-profit, non-governmental international Standard to ensure the highest standards of production. Co-operation with a range of aligned organisations involves aspects of marine science, botany, nutrition, sustainability, and conservation.

In 2015 the Foundation introduced ‘Nutritious Food Seaweed’, the world’s first private international Standard to help seaweed producers and brands access broader and more valuable markets at home and abroad, and ensure the nutritional value of the end product for human consumption.

The NFS Standard has been developed over many years, working with seaweed producers, the Biodynamic Association, and other organisations. It incorporates all the relevant international standards relating to food safety, organic aquaculture, sustainability and the environment.

2016 saw the introduction of the Nutritious Food Seaweed symbol for use on product packaging, incorporating a registered European trade mark with international registrations pending.

The NFS symbol will bolster public confidence and greatly assist the growth of markets among consumers, healthcare practitioners, and manufacturers using seaweed ingredients in a wide range of finished products.

Seaweed producers and those processing or marketing seaweed products can now apply for certification from the Biodynamic Association in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, and more locally in future from associated certification bodies in other countries.


The Standard itself and the Inspection Protocol are password protected for the use of registered applicants within the Resources section of the website.


“Francis Edmunds considered it essential that Emerson College acquired sufficient land for both the college campus and for agriculture. Agricultural land was needed as a base for the agricultural course, for all students to have the important direct experience of working with nature and the growing plant, and to produce healthy food for the college. He saw that students could not develop sufficiently the necessary inner powers of imagination and discrimination on the sort of food generally available at that time (1960) of widespread materialism in the attitude to food production. Science had produced artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives, fertilzers, insecticides, herbicides, and other such aids to the production, marketing, storage, and enjoyment of foods. The use of such chemicals was little questioned; they were seen as scientific advances. People who did question them were considered social oddities like the hippies. There was also little consciousness of a need to care for the environment. In his attitude to land and food production, Francis, as in other things, was well ahead of his time. He saw that the college would itself have to grow vegetables in order to provide at least some healthy nutritious food for the students if they were to work on the inner path of development which formed the foundation of the work of the college”

- Michael Spence in The Story of Emerson College, Its Founding Impulse, Work and Form, Temple Lodge, 2013.

“If we are to transform our food systems so that the maximum amount of people can eat nutritious food produced in the right ways, we need to work together, share ideas, pool resources and connect as part of a global food movement. Every voice counts.” 

- Patrick Holden, Patron of the Biodynamic Association, Founder, Sustainable Food Trust, and previously Director of the Soil Association, 2016.

“…the recession linked response of the multiple retailers has been to pile it high, sell it cheap and compromise on the production. If you knew the real story behind the food you wouldn’t want to buy it. Sadly that includes organic produce which, although there are of course exceptions, is in the main now often supplied by conventional packers who are often part of multinational trading groups buying from industrial scale farms from all over the world.”

- Patrick Holden in Business and Food, Food Ethics (blog), 30th April 2002.

“We recognise the necessity of access to affordable health care, education, clean drinking water, sanitation and housing for all citizens and emphasise the importance of promoting health and well-being in combating communicable and non-communicable diseases. We recognise the right of everyone to have access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food, consistent with the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.”

- Charter of the British Commonwealth signed by HM Queen Elizabeth, Head of the Commonwealth, 2013.



Seaweed harvesting and processing for human food is developing in Europe and elsewhere using a variety of methods which produce widely differing qualities.

Good quality seaweed is being produced from traditional artisan production, larger scale mechanical harvesting and processing, and on- and off-shore cultivation introduced more recently.

At the same time, seaweed continues to enter the human food chain from entirely unregulated small-scale production, or dried and milled from industrial scale production for agriculture and alginate extraction which meets no food safety or nutritional standard.

End users and intermediaries have little knowledge of, and limited means to determine, the quality of these products.

Together with the Biodynamic Association, seaweed producers and others, the Seaweed Health Foundation is working to ensure a level playing field for producers of human food seaweed and certified quality for their customers.

A recognised, voluntary standard will help sustain fair market value reflecting the true cost of certified production, assist seaweed producers with production methods and technologies, and help develop an international market for certified seaweed producers and products.

Defining parameters for the Nutritious Food Seaweed standard are currently:

  • Single living species of documented age and freshness
  • Documented physical and nutritional quality
  • Traceability from end use to documented sustainable source
  • Regulatory compliance for global markets
  • Standard Operating Procedures, independent analysis and accreditation
  • Environmental sustainability

The NFS Standard will remain subject to improvement, reflecting real time developments born of practical experience and innovation, new species and methods in production, and changing market realities.

It aims to provide protection and quality assurance to consumers, intermediaries and producers, whether the seaweed is collected and dried by hand, cultivated and farmed in the open sea or otherwise, or mechanically harvested and processed.

The Standard is fully compliant with and where required, includes certification under the EU Organic Regulation EC 834/2007 along with the implementing Regulation EC 889/2008 and EC 710/2009, and corresponding regulations under the National Organic Program in the USA.

If you are interested in obtaining further details and certification, please contact the Biodynamic Association:

Managing Director

Tarry Bolger, Managing Director
Biodynamic Association Certification
Painswick Inn Project
Gloucester Street

Tel: +44 (0)1453 766296

Certification Officer

Richard Swann
Processing Technical Officer
Biodynamic Association Certification Office
Painswick Inn Project
Gloucester Street

Tel: +44 (0)1453 765588
Mobile: 07896 976422

Normal office hours: Monday - Friday 9.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.