Durham University has become the first independent catered academic institution in the UK to achieve the prestigious Marine Stewardship (MSC) Chain of Custody Standard following an assessment by Food Certification International (FCI), the independent accredited certification body.
The MSC certification means that students in all 11 catered colleges of Durham University now have the option to choose independently certified sustainable fish for the first time for their meals. Each of the new MSC-Eco labelled menu items can be traced back to an independently certified, sustainable fishery, enabling Durham students to make an informed choice and help support the sustainable fishery market.
John Turner, community executive chef for Durham University and the driving force behind the switch to MSC certified fish, said: “It is important to us, our students, staff and guests alike that we produce quality food which is sustainable and has demonstrable provenance. We are striving to increase the perceived value of the food we serve and using the MSC ecolabel on our menus is a key part of that.
“Students appreciate the quality and provenance of our catering, and the fact that MSC certification deals with the holistic aspects of sustainable fish, from how and where it is caught, to the integrity of the supply chain.”
As part of the process, University staff took time to review the MSC fisheries programme and understand its requirements and robustness. Once satisfied, they decided to support MSC and sustainable fishing by supporting a “Fish on Friday” promotion to their students. They also produced well-conceived training material that was delivered to their chefs at each campus and supported by written instructions to the kitchens.
Paul Macintyre of FCI says: “I was impressed by the thoroughness in which Durham had reviewed the MSC sustainable fishery standards and then made arrangements for managing MSC Chain of Custody compliance within their catering business.”
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