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Group: McDonald's Filet-O-Fish To Carry Questionable Eco-Label; 'Made From A Controversial Fish'
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WASHINGTON, D.C -- Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Europe:

Brussels, Belgium – "It is deeply disturbing that McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich will soon carry the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-label at the fast food chain's European locations. Filet-O-Fish sandwiches are made from a controversial fish, the New Zealand hoki — a species that we and many experts believe should not have been certified by the MSC to begin with."

"We have documented in detail the many problems associated with private eco-labeling programs, including the Marine Stewardship Council's. In particular, we are disappointed that the MSC continues to certify fisheries such as New Zealand hoki — fisheries that have committed to environmental reforms in name only. In fact, the New Zealand hoki fishery has been found to violate the country's Fisheries Act, which requires adverse effects on the aquatic environment – such as the fishery's troubled history of deadly interactions with seabirds – be addressed and avoided.

"Despite numerous objections to the hoki's certification over the past decade – including concerns about seabird and seal deaths associated with the fishery – this fish inexplicably remains certified by MSC. Because of this, it is unlikely that MSC-certified fisheries meet European consumers' high standards for sustainability."

"The pressing concern we have with eco-labeling programs is the 'pay-to-play' aspect built into certification. Smaller and more sustainable fishing operations often cannot afford to certify, frequently leaving the label accessible only to the largest multinational fishing companies and 'foodservice operations' like McDonald's. An MSC label appearing on a mass-produced fast food item like the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish is an indication that these types of labels may be less focused on sustainability than profits."


Food & Water Europe is a program of Food & Water Watch, Inc., a non-profit consumer NGO based in Washington, D.C., working to ensure clean water and safe food in Europe and around the world. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

4 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Dear Madam/Sir, Clearly Food and Water has no clue what they talk about when they speak of problems of private eco-labelling schemes and MSC in particular. Many studies were done on the robustnes of various eco-labelling programmes for wild caught seafood and MSC consisteny came out on top. These included studies by Accenture under auspicies of WWF, studies by the Nordic council of ministers, the OECD, and former OFIMER in France. In addition the MSC has major global support from many highly regarded experts in the scientific community, and has been hailed as a great tool to promote positive changes to safeguard our oceans. Indeed the Hoki fisheries in New Zealand have impacts, but these impacts are tolerable. fully documented and considered to be sustainable. The committment by McDonalds is a fantastic step to get more people interested in sustainable seafood, and MSC certification definately a great tool to help our seas forward. regards, Jorim, The Netherlands
   comment# 1   - jorim · netherlands · Jun 10, 2011 @ 6:48am

What a bunch of idiots....
   comment# 2   - Steve · USA · Jun 10, 2011 @ 12:51pm

European? Who cares what they have to say.
   comment# 3   - 2nd person · Washington DC, USA · Jun 10, 2011 @ 12:52pm

I find it hard to believe that any mass produced food item could ever truly be eco-friendly. I do eat a filet-o-fish periodically and would like not to feel that I am betraying the environmental values I want to live up to. At the same time, McDonald's and Walmart are listening to the market and making steps in the right direction. They are the elephants in the room for sure. But it does not sound like the fisheries involved should be certified.
   comment# 4   - Maggie · Illinois.USA · Jun 10, 2011 @ 1:45pm
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