By mid-2012, Marine Harvest Canada aims to attain environmental certification, giving both consumers and retail customers even more confidence in its products.
“We are certain that the operational certifications we have already earned, such as ISO 14001 and HACCP, will give us a solid foundation and provide a substantial starting point for eco-certification in the immediate future and for additional programs we choose to pursue down the road,” commented Ken Taylor, Sales Director.
“This new certification will be aimed specifically at driving high standards of environmental performance for salmon aquaculture,” said Clare Backman, Director of Sustainability.
We are close to deciding which certification we want to pursue and expect to have the contract signed by the end of this year, explained Clare.
This certification will examine the sustainability measures in place under which the fish are raised.
Further details will be provided once the formality of signing the contract is done, Clare promised.
When fully implemented, an accredited third party certifier will track the fish through its entire life cycle, from egg to box, ready for shipment to customers. It’s anticipated that each site will undergo an annual audit.
“We’re going to work really hard at keeping all sites certified all the time,” stated Clare. If one site loses its certification, it doesn’t mean the company loses its entire certification but naturally the best case scenario is to have each site constantly in full compliance.
There are two steps involved in the process. First of all, Marine Harvest applies for certification to a specific standard through the accreditation body. Following that comes the work involved in meeting all requirements specific to that particular certification. Upon completion of a thorough audit of company operations, the certification is awarded.
Ken Taylor goes on to explain that Marine Harvest Canada is very interested in the eco-certification programs that the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Aquaculture Alliance are each currently developing, however, neither of those is yet completed and there’s no firm timetable as to when they’ll be ready for accreditation through ISO 65.
This ongoing attention to consistently producing a healthy product in a sustainable way is due to a more aware consumer, said Ken. There are two main things today’s consumer now demands about their food: the first is the assurance that what they are eating is produced in a sustainable way that keeps in mind the long-term effects of how it’s brought to their tables; secondly, consumers want reasonable assurances that what they buy is healthy from a food safety point of view.
In May, Loblaw’s announced that certain seafood items carried in their stores will be required to have certification programs attached to them by 2014.
It owns Superstore and is one of Marine Harvest’s largest customers.
Ken is confident Marine Harvest will be on track to meet Loblaw’s deadline.
By Gina Forsyth