For Cal Dining, Sustainable Seafood

Cal Dining looks to get certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

By Paul King, Editorial Director

For many years Cal Dining, the foodservice program at the University of California at Berkeley, has been a leader in environmental awareness. Several of the buildings in which Cal Dining operates are LEED certified. In 2006, after launching the first all-organic salad bar on a college campus, Cal Dining became the first college dining program to become certified organic. Now, the program is looking to become certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

“We’ve just started the process for getting MSC certified,” said Ida Shen, executive chef and associate director, Cal Dining. “Our department believes that this is the way we should go.”

MSC certification means that the restaurant or foodservice operator is buying seafood from a wild-catch fishery that is certified sustainable and can be fully traced back to its source. Shen said she expects the certification process to be completed by August.

“The certification will not apply to every fish we serve, but when we do follow the process we will display an MSC ecolabel on the items,” she added. “It means not only that we are buying that seafood from a sustainable source, but that we have handled it differently from other fish, such as storing it on different shelves of our refrigerators and freezers, and have agreed to third-party monitoring and audits.”

According to the MSC, 104 fisheries around the world have been certified, and another 144 are currently being assessed. Those 248 fisheries represent about 12% of the fish caught for human consumption.

Cal Dining already purchases some of its seafood from MSC-certified companies, such as the Salt Spring Island mussels it buys from Clean Fish.