Delhaize Suppliers on the Hook to Prove Seafood Sustainability

SALISBURY, NC — Suppliers selling seafood to Food Lion, Sweetbay, Hannaford and other grocery stores owned by Delhaize America must now prove all products came from sustainable sources.

The grocery giant has mandated that all suppliers of fresh, frozen and packaged fish and shellfish must comply with its verification policy by March 31, 2011, or show an action plan to achieve compliance. The company has already begun collecting and evaluating data from its seafood suppliers.

The new policy, developed with the help of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), has several components:

• Suppliers must prove their seafood comes from well-managed fisheries that have management plans in place to rebuild stocks if needed, conduct analyses to determine the best harvest levels, and monitor and enforce harvesting to prevent illegal fishing practices.

• Farm-raised seafood must come from suppliers certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance's Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standard, which includes safeguards against negative social, environmental, workplace and health impacts.

• All seafood must be fully traceable to the farm or port of landing in order to give Delhaize the ability to confirm sustainable harvest claims.

• The policy also encourages local sourcing.


"We want our shoppers to have confidence that seafood they buy from us is from fisheries that are viable and maintained for the future," George Parmenter, a Corporate Responsibility manager for Delhaize America, said in a statement today. "The health of fisheries is important to us as a retailer, both for the long-term product supply and for reducing the environmental impacts of products we sell. Our company is committed to operating responsibly, and our new program reinforces this commitment."

The company came in eighth place in Greenpeace's most recent Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard. In comments in the accompanying report, "Carting Away the Oceans," Greenpeace hailed the company's progress since 2009. At the time of the reports release in late April, Delhaize was still developing its sustainable seafood sourcing policy but had said all products must come from sustainable sources and farmed products must come from certified suppliers by March.

Delahize's new policy announced today takes these moves a step further with the verification and compliance requirements for all products.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user david.nikonvscanon.