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Food Lion Propels Sea Change in Responsible Fish Sourcing with New Policy

Food Lion, one of America’s largest supermarket chains with more than 1,100 stores across the eastern and southeastern US, has announced the adoption of a sustainable seafood policy that will cover approximately 1,000 fresh, frozen, canned or packaged seafood products sold at its stores. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute will help Food Lion assess its suppliers.

Highlights of the policy include:

  • Suppliers will provide full traceability of their products back to the source fishery or farm.
  • Wild-caught seafood will be sourced from fisheries that are governed by credible, enforceable and science-based management plans.
  • Farm-raised seafood must be reviewed and certified to ensure that its production does not harm communities, workers, the environment or human health.
  • Monitoring and compliance measures are in place to ensure harvest levels are maintained within appropriate limits.

Karen Fernald, SVP of Merchandising at Food Lion, said that through the policy "customers can trust that the seafood products they buy in our stores today are responsibly harvested. Our seafood products have been documented as meeting important criteria around sustainability, adding Food Lion to an elite list of grocers in the US to accomplish this goal.”

Lauding Food Lion's efforts, Jen Levin, Sustainable Seafood Program Manager at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, said: “Food Lion has been resolute in following through with its policy’s commitments, which has required a great deal of investment on their part.”

More details of the policy are available on their website. To celebrate the launch, Food Lion donated sustainable seafood products to local food banks in North and South Carolina.

With over 75 percent of the world’s fish fully exploited or overexploited, and 90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the world’s oceans, there is significant concern that such rapid extinction will lead to broader collapses of ecosystems at a global scale, threatening food supplies and livelihoods. With this new policy, Food Lion joins the efforts of fellow retail giants Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe’s and Target, along with those of other industry players from grocery suppliers to restaurant chains to help mitigate overfishing and other irresponsible seafood sourcing practices. While sustainable seafood remains a work in progress, the outlook is promising.


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