By CHARLOTTE RODINA
The University of Mary Washington’s dining services is part of Sodexo’s newly launched certified sustainable seafood program, which began in early April. UMW is one of 11 Sodexo locations starting the new program.
“We’re playing our part in the environment and making sure we get healthy products for our consumers,” said John McIntyre, a manager at UMW dining.
Sodexo, UMW’s food provider, partnered with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for the program.
UMW now has MSC Chain Custody certification, meaning the seafood served can be traced back to its original source. This gives consumers an opportunity to find out if the fishery that their seafood comes from was approved by MSC as sustainable.
“This effort underscores Sodexo’s comprehensive sustainable seafood initiative and North American commitment to phase out purchases of seafood not certified by MSC or the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices,” according to a Sodexo press release.
Evelyn Hartman, an officer in UMW’s Ecology Club and junior anthropology major with an environmental sustainability minor and an economics minor, is glad that the program “offer[s] students eating on campus the ability to make responsible choices when it comes to eating fish and seafood.”
For fisheries to pass the MSC standards for certification, seafood must be caught at “a level which is sustainable for their population…maintain the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem” and “meet all local, national and international laws,” according to the MSC website.
The certified seafood served in Seacobeck and other dining facilities on campus will display the MSC eco-label which will ensure that the seafood is certified. The program should be in place next semester.
The MSC website also has a tracking tool in order to look up which fisheries are certified.
Certified seafood “was handled appropriately at every point in its journey from boat to plate,” according to a flyer about the program that can be found on a bulletin board in Seacobeck.
Despite this program, Sodexo has not specified where many other food items from Seacobecks and the Eagle’s Nest originate.
“I hope Sodexo increases this transparency with the rest of their meats and [vegetables],” said senior American studies major Samantha Corron. Corron is also an officer in the Ecology Club.
Hartman noted that Sodexo is receptive to new ideas from its consumers. UMW dining, Sodexo and the Ecology Club are continually looking at new ways to go green.
Sodexo recently signed a contract with Organix Recycling for pre-consumer composting, according to Hartman.
“Sodexo is open to incorporating new sustainable practices in the kitchen and dining facilities,” said Hartman.