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Government's fish standards will be 'worse than for pet food'

02 March 2011

Government fish buying standards have been described as “an embarrassing failure” by leading fish conservation groups

In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, they state "Fish served to The Cabinet and staff at Number 10 will almost certainly have worse sustainability standards than the pet food served up to Number 10's Larry the Cat, given that - unlike Government - leading pet food brands such as Whiskas have committed to avoiding endangered species and achieving full seafood sustainability''.

Despite a commitment to becoming "the greenest government ever" the Coalition Government has stated that its "preferred option" for fish buying is only 60% of seafood bought for Central Government should have to meet sustainability standards. The proposed standards would apply to fish served in Whitehall, prisons, the armed forces and government departments.

The letter to the Prime Minister is co-signed by the Marine Conservation Society, the Environmental Justice Foundation, The Shellfish Association, Sustain (an alliance of food and farming organisations) and Good Food for Our Money, the campaign for health and environmental standards for public sector food bought with taxpayers' money.

In their letter, the organisations state:

"We remind the Government if you don't adopt 100% sustainable seafood standards for Government Buying Standards, your standards will:

Fail to show leadership on an issue of acute sustainability concern.

Fall far short of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic food standards, which specify nothing less than 100% sustainable seafood.

Be worse than seafood buying policies of leading household-name brands and influential food businesses such as Marks & Spencer, Sodexo and McDonald’s.

Mean that fish served to The Cabinet and staff at Number 10 will almost certainly have worse sustainability standards than the pet food served up to the PM's Larry the Cat, given that - unlike Government - leading pet food brands such as Whiskas have committed to achieving full seafood sustainability."

The Good Food for Our Money campaign is demanding Ministers introduce a mandatory sustainability standard for all seafood bought by the public sector which is at least as strong as the standard of Larry’s pet food. Members of the public can show their support by sending an automated email directly to Government by going to:

Alex Jackson, Co-ordinator of the Good Food for Our Money Campaign, said:“It is shameful that Government is introducing seafood standards for some parts of the public sector which are weaker than those standards in Larry’s pet food. The Government must make it compulsory for all seafood which is bought by the taxpayer and served in public sector institutions to be proven to be sustainable.”

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