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All of the divisions of Delhaize America — Hannaford, Sweetbay, Bottom Dollar Food, and Food Lion’s family of banners, consisting Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys and Reid’s — are adopting a new seafood program that will require suppliers to verify that products come from sources managed for sustainability and encourage sourcing locally. This requirement will apply to fresh, frozen and packaged fish and shellfish alike. All suppliers must comply with the program by March 31, 2011.
“We want our shoppers to have confidence that seafood they buy from us is from fisheries that are viable and maintained for the future,” noted George Parmenter, a corporate responsibility manager for Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize America, part of Brussels-based retail conglomerated Delhaize Group. “The health of fisheries is important to us as a retailer, both for the long-term product supply and for reducing the environmental impacts of products we sell. Our company is committed to operating responsibly, and our new program reinforces this commitment.”
Delhaize America developed the program in close partnership with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), a nonprofit marine science center. The comprehensive sustainable seafood policy requires all suppliers to demonstrate that their seafood products come from well-managed fisheries, through a detailed management plan featuring the following components:
—Developing plans to replenish stock sizes within a specific timeframe if stock size levels fall below target levels
—Providing sufficient data to determine appropriate harvest levels or practices
—Adopting monitoring and compliance measures to ensure harvest levels are maintained within acceptable limits
—Maintaining enforcement policies to ensure harvesters follow regulations, and to prevent illegal practices and unreported harvest
Suppliers of farm-raised seafood must obtain certification by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), a program of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. BAP certification ensures that the item’s production doesn’t have an adverse effect on communities, workers, the environment or human health through the improper use of chemicals or drugs.
Another major component of the policy is the requirement that all seafood be fully traceable to the port of landing or farm. This requirement allow all Delhaize America supermarkets to have immediate access to information on where the product was harvested, thereby enabling the company to confirm claims regarding sustainable harvest. Delhaize America’s program will additionally reward seafood businesses that implement such sustainable harvesting practices as strategies to minimize accidental catch of fish not destined for market or to prevent damage to marine habitats. The company’s continuing quality assurance processes throughout its supply chain are also part of the initiative.
As the first step in rolling out the policy, all Delhaize America banners are gathering data from their seafood suppliers and evaluating that information with GMRI. By March 31, 2011, all seafood products sold in the company’s stores must be in compliance with the policy or show a clear action plan to attain compliance.
“The new policy encourages ongoing improvement in sustainability practices and promotes local fisheries,” said Parmenter. “Our customers prefer local seafood, and we believe buying local provides fresh food, supports our local economies, and reduces environmental impacts from transporting seafood from longer distances. Through this work, we will ensure that the local seafood we’ve always sourced for customers will be healthy for the local environment and around for future generations to enjoy.”
The seafood sustainability policy will be posted on the Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food, Food Lion, Hannaford and Sweetbay Web sites.
Delhaize America operates over 1,600 stores in 16 states in the eastern United States under its Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food, Food Lion, Harveys, Hannaford Supermarkets, Reid’s and Sweetbay banners, and employs about 109,000 full-time and part-time associates.