By Craig Weatherby
McDonald's USA says it'll adopt the sustainability standards of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), and begin displaying the MSC eco-label as of February 2013.
In 2011, McDonald's made the same pledge for all seafood sold in its UK restaurants.
We're proud of our decade-long partnership with the MSC, and glad to see the Council's vital mission gaining the mainstream attention needed to raise awareness of seafood sustainability.
While MSC certification poses challenges for a business like ours ... tiny next to a behemoth like McDonald's ... we're eager to help spread the seafood-sustainability message.
Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell received today's news direct from Michael Griff of the MSC, who included a gratifying note:
“…this type of announcement with McDonald's would not be possible without the support of those that came before like you, so I would like to sincerely thank you for your support!”
Our sustainability pledge: A decade older than McDonald's
We began shipping seafood to Vital Choice customers in 2002 … with the pledge to sell only sustainably harvested seafood.
Accordingly, we favored fish and shellfish from wild fisheries certified sustainable by the most credible organization doing this work … the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
(Alaska's state constitution mandates protection of the fisheries in its waters to ensure their sustainability ... but the state has also relied on MSC for independent verification of its wild salmon fisheries.)
In 2004, our Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil became the very first fish oil to bear the MSC label ... which attests to the sustainability of the salmon that provide the oil.
We also offered the very first MSC-approved Krill Oil in the world … and all Vital Choice supplements containing any omega-3 marine oils are also MSC-approved.
You'll also see the blue MSC eco-label on our canned sockeye and canned albacore tuna products and our WEIL for Vital Choice Sockeye Salmon Sausage.
About the MSC
The Marine Stewardship Council was co-founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Unilever in 1997, and became an independent non-profit organization in 1999.
“World Wildlife Fund supports the MSC as the only credible standard for sustainable wild-caught seafood. McDonald's decision to display the MSC eco-label on its seafood products gives consumers a way to contribute to the conservation of the world's biodiversity,” said Bill Fox, vice president and managing director of fisheries at World Wildlife Fund.
The MSC runs the only certification and eco-labeling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with all major international labeling guidelines. MSC policies ensures sound standards in three ways:
  • Objective, third-party fishery assessment utilizing scientific evidence;
  • Transparent processes with built-in stakeholder consultation and objection procedures;
  • Standards based on the sustainability of target species, ecosystems and management practices.
To maintain impartiality, the MSC operates a "third-party" certification program. This means that MSC itself does not assess fisheries or decide if they are sustainable.
Instead, certificates are issued by organizations that are independently accredited to be able to perform assessments of fisheries and decide if they meet the MSC's standards.
  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). McDonalds' USA First National Restaurant Chain to Serve MSC-Certified Sustainable Fish at All U.S. Locations. Jan. 24, 2013. Accessed at
  • World Wildlife Fund. Accessed at