Nothing Fishy Here: Cornell Commits to Sustainable Seafood

Sustainability practices at Cornell University’s dining halls now extend to seafood.

Cornell is the first Ivy League school to earn the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Chain of Custody certification. The rigorous audit certifies that fish comes from sustainable fisheries and is supplied by processors and distributors use  sustainable sourcing practices.

Cornell’s move comes amid heightened scrutiny of seafood labeling programs. Research by non-profit Oceana show that non-certified seafood is mislabeled 25-70% of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod. Fraud is rampant in grocery stories and smaller restaurants catering to the seafood trade.

"We see our MSC Chain of Custody certification as the logical next step in our commitment to running a truly sustainable food service operation at Cornell, and sourcing seafood that’s certified sustainable is important to our students, staff, and faculty," says Steven W. Miller, senior executive chef for Cornell Dining,

"Students across the country are highly interested in the sustainability of their college and university campuses in every aspect, and we anticipate many more dining facilities will join Cornell and other higher education institutions participating in the MSC program as a way to ensure and demonstrate that their environmental responsibility extends to the seafood they serve,” says Kerry Coughlin, MSC Regional Director, Americas.

Cornell’s 32 food service locations serve over 27,000 people each day. The university’s commitment to sustainability includes “trayless” dining in certain locations, fair trade coffee served in reusable mugs, biodegradable packaging for grab-and-go items, and a program that converts more than 515 tons of food scraps and organic waste into compost.

Cornell Dining coordinates with the university’s School of Agriculture to harvest more than 50,000 pounds of potatoes and 1,200 bushels of corn a year from farms on campus. It also serves fresh yogurt and ice cream made at the Cornell Dairy.

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