New UK Government food buying standards boost sustainable fisheries

June 29, 2011 12:14

The Marine Stewardship Council has today welcomed the UK Government's commitment to sourcing 100 per cent sustainable fish for all central government procurement, reports with reference to MSC.

From September 2011, all new catering contracts will include a mandatory requirement that "All fish are demonstrably sustainable with all wild-caught fish meeting the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries", including MSC certification. 

Government buying standards make it easier for buyers to source sustainable products and services. The new food buying standards will apply to all central government departments and their executive agencies, including the military and prisons. This represents a total £16.1 million expenditure per annum on fish by government buyers and affects (by Defra's estimate) the meals of 400,000 people. The standards will also be promoted to the wider public sector.

The standards represent the first mandatory sustainable seafood standard for public sector food, and place the UK as world leaders in sustainable seafood for Government procurement.

Fantastic commitment

Ruth Westcott, MSC UK Commercial Officer said: "This is a fantastic commitment by the UK Government. MSC certified fisheries go through a rigorous assessment process to demonstrate that they are sustainable, and such strong government standards will really support these fisheries. Thousands of primary schools in the UK have shown their commitment to protecting the oceans by switching to MSC certified seafood. These mandatory requirements for demonstrably sustainable fish mean that - for the first time - the UK government will require its caterers to follow their lead."

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