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Sainsbury’s Sells Eco-Labeled Farmed Fish

Sainsbury’s has begun selling farmed catfish certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, The Grocer reports.

In what it says is an industry first, the UK supermarket launched two own-label lines of river cobbler, a type of fast-growing catfish, in 150 stores. The Grocer says a third line of the farmed fish will follow next week and all three products will be sold in 400 stores beginning May 1.

Sainsbury’s, which say it is the largest retailer of Marine Stewardship Council-certified fish, has set a goal that all the fish it sells will be independently certified as sustainable by 2020. This is part of the company’s 20×20 Sustainability Plan.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council provides chain of custody certification for farmed fish, similar to the MSC chain of custody requirements.

In January, McDonald’s USA became the first national restaurant chain to serve fish bearing the MSC eco-label at all of its US locations. Earlier this week, Sodexo announced it will serve Marine Stewardship Council-certified seafood at 11 Washington, DC-area locations beginning this month.

A study published in the current volume of the journal Biological Conservation says the MSC certification process is too lenient and discretionary, allowing controversial fisheries to be certified. The MSC label may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders, the study says.

Last month, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other grocery retailers representing more than 2,000 stores across the US pledged to not sell genetically engineered seafood if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood, launched by a coalition led by Friends of the Earth, comes as the FDA conducts its final review of AquAdvantage Salmon, a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies of Maynard, Mass. If approved, the salmon would be the first-ever genetically engineered animal allowed to enter the US human food supply.

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