McDonald's Corp. will begin using a Marine Stewardship Council seal on its fish products, to denote that they are certified sustainable. The chain's fish was initially certified in 2005, but it has since undertaken an audit of its supply chain to ensure sustainability and traceability.
The Oak Brook-based burger giant is the first major restaurant chain to make such a claim about its fish. Though fish is a relatively small portion of the company's U.S. menu, McDonald's is one of the nation's largest purchasers. The announcement also ties in with the launch of Fish McBites in February.
In a statement, Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of U.S. supply chain and sustainability at McDonald's described the certification as "a critical part of our company's journey to advance positive environmental and economic practices in our supply chain."
McDonald's will begin advertising that fact that its fish is sustainable, wild-caught Alaskan pollock as part of the Fish McBite launch.
Once an attribute limited to niche players, commitments to protecting animal welfare have become common among major fast-food operators in the past few years. Last year McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's vowed to phase out confinement of pregnant sows in crates that animal rights activists describe as cruel.
The chains have also been under pressure to begin using cage-free eggs, after a 2011 "Nightline" report focusing on a major egg supplier. Subway and Burger King use only cage-free eggs. With a much larger breakfast business, McDonald's is studying cage-free eggs, compared with conventional and other methods.
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