United Supermarkets Establishes Seafood Milestone

Lubbock, TX: The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) announced that United Supermarkets has become the first all-Texas grocery chain to obtain MSC Chain of Custody certification.

United will immediately begin providing its guests with fresh and frozen seafood products bearing the blue MSC "ecolabel," assuring chefs and consumers the seafood is certified as sustainable and can be traced back to the MSC-certified fishery of its origin.

"We are extremely honored as a company to be the first all-Texas supermarket chain to earn MSC certification," says Scott Nettles, business director of market/seafood for United Supermarkets, LLC. "We believe this a very important step in ensuring that our store guests are receiving the highest quality, most sustainable seafood products possible."

United begins offering MSC-certified fresh fish at its 14 stores which offer seafood. Those include all 10 Market Street locations – in Allen, Amarillo, Colleyville, Coppell, Frisco, Lubbock (two), McKinney, Plano and Wichita Falls. Participating United Supermarkets locations are in Abilene (3301 S. 14th), Amarillo (5601 Amarillo Blvd. and 5807 S.W. 45th) and Lubbock (8010 Frankford Ave.).

The MSC Chain of Custody certification is a comprehensive traceability program that traces seafood from the point of sale back to an MSC certified fishery.

It ensures that MSC-labeled products are sourced from a fishery that is MSC certified, and it protects buyers and the fishery from fraudulent labeling and any mixing with products from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. As a result, the sustainability of the seafood product is ensured, the MSC certified fishery of origin receives well-deserved recognition, and incentive is created for other fisheries to commit to environmentally responsible fishing practices.

For a seafood product to carry the MSC ecolabel, it must come from a certified fishery, and every point in the supply chain where there is an opportunity to substitute or co-mingle with other seafood must have Chain of Custody (CoC) certification to ensure that does not occur.

To obtain CoC, wholesalers and distributors must pass an independent, third-party audit conducted by an accredited certification body, and it must undergo annual surveillance audits to demonstrate it continues to meet the standard. The CoC standard focuses on having an internal traceability system and reliable operational systems in place to ensure that MSC certified seafood is kept separate from noncertified seafood. Worldwide, more than 1,800 companies have obtained Chain of Custody certification.

"We are pleased to be starting this partnership with United Supermarkets," says Kerry Coughlin, MSC regional director, Americas. "Their commitment allows their customers in communities throughout Texas to make choices that help protect seafood supplies for this and future generations."