August 22, 2013 Begich ballistic over no AK salmon to US troops
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – No Alaska salmon for the US troops. Senator Mark Begich responds after this:
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One of the world’s largest foods contractors is the latest to snub Alaska salmon over an eco-label – in this case, fish that’s targeted to the US troops.
The company Sodexo, home based in France, has an eight year contract to provide food services to US military mess halls. The Fortune 500 company’s policy is to only serve seafood certified by the London-based Marine Stewardship Council. Alaska Senator Mark Begich —
To be very frank with you – This company has decided because of some labeling issue, they don’t think Alaska fish products meet their standards. It is outrageous and appalling . We believe that the certification we have, which is Global Trust Certification that Canada and Iceland receive on their fish products, is as high standard, if not higher, than what Sodexo wants to have.
The MSC spearheaded the sustainable seafood movement in 1997 – showcasing Alaska’s salmon fishery as its first big certification” success. The Alaska industry opted out of the MSC program last year, due to growing logo and licensing costs and concerns over inconsistent standards.
Sodexo follows Wal-Mart and the US Park Service in a fish fight over MSC labeling. Begich has written a letter of complaint to Sodexo, and he says he’s ready to add clarifications to the Magnuson-Stevens Act as it is being reauthorized.
As chair of the oceans committee, I’m in charge of that – to maybe claify this. Because at the end of the day, We should be fighting day and night to have sustainable fisheries, no matter where they are in our country, and to make sure the consumer knows that. But we shouldn’t let some European group who’s making money off of all these fees decide what is sustainable, because the reality is – it was Alaska seafood that made that organization exist. 15
It’s likely that many other Americans are also not benefitting from Alaska salmon. Sodexo USA provides foods to hundreds of federal, state and private hospitals, schools, prisons and other facilities across the country.
The US Park Service and Wal-Mart are making sure Alaska salmon remains in their outlets; Senator Begich said he has gotten no response so far from Sodexo.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.