Octopus products are always exported frozen using container transport. Most exports are mixed shipments of different octopus products and other products ordered by the customer. For these reasons, the majority of the exporters are based close to the main ports in the Philippines including in Manila, Cebu and General Santos.
In order to be accredited to process and export seafood products, a company has to be audited and approved for general hygiene, sanitation standards and procedures, and HACCP. The Bureau for Fishery and Aquaculture Resources (BFAR) is the competent authority that enforces this through annual audits at each processing plant. Additionally, each processing plant that wants to export seafood products to an EU member state needs to be “EU approved”. In order to become EU approved a more thorough hygiene and sanitation inspection is performed by the same agency. Hereby it is important to note that a processing plant becomes approved on a per species basis only. So for each species that a company wants to export, a new approval permit needs to be applied for. By doing so, BFAR has been able to tightly control the food safety of the products that are being exported in the past years. As a result, BFAR has improved the previously dubious reputation of the Philippines with regards to the food safety of its products.
In total there are 7 registered processing plants that are permitted to process and export octopus products to the EU. Except for one, all of these companies produce a variety of other seafood products besides octopus.