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McDonald’s to Serve Only Eco-Labeled Fish

McDonald’s USA says it will become the first national restaurant chain to serve fish bearing the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label at all of its US locations.

McDonald’s, which uses MSC-certified wild-caught Alaska Pollock for its Filet-O-Fish sandwich, will begin displaying the MSC ecolabel on product packaging, in-restaurant communications and external marketing beginning in February 2013 – coinciding with the launch of Fish McBites, McDonald’s newest fish menu item, which also uses wild-caught, MSC-certified Alaska Pollock.

The company actually certified its fish in 2005, but since then has audited its supply chain to ensure the fish’s sustainability and traceability, according to the Chicago Tribune. McDonald’s introduced the same MSC certification for all its European restaurants in 2011.

As one of the largest single buyers of fish in the US, McDonald’s scale should help assure that growing seafood demands are balanced with MSC’s responsible sourcing practices to maintain the health and sustainability of fish stocks for the future, the company said.

According to MSC chief executive Rupert Howes, the announcement stemmed from a collaborative relationship with McDonald’s. The partnership allows customers to support sustainable fishing practices that preserve fish stocks and support communities that depend on fishing, Howes said.

The MSC certification indicates that 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the US have met the MSC Chain of Custody standard for traceability, which is the ability to track the fish all the way back through the supply chain to the fishery. Under the MSC certification program, these fisheries have been assessed by independent scientists against three core principles: the health of the fish stock, the impact of the fishery on the ecosystem and the management system that oversees the fishery.

Sustainable fish sourcing is part of McDonald’s broader commitment to sustainable sourcing that includes sourcing guidelines for palm oil, beef and coffee.

In 2011, grocery chain Kroger announced that 65 percent of its top 20 wild-caught seafood species are sourced from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council-certified, in MSC full assessment, or engaged in a World Wildlife Fund fishery improvement project. At that time the chain said it was on its way to meeting a goal of having 100 percent of these seafoods sustainably sourced by 2015.

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