Loblaw modifies select fresh fish and seafood counters to highlight "at risk" fish and suggested alternatives

Gone Fishing for sustainable seafood: Starting February 4, 2010, customers at select Loblaw Companies stores across Canada will see empty trays at seafood counters where fish identified as "at risk" were once displayed. Loblaw is committed to sourcing all fish and seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. (CNW Group/Loblaw Companies Limited)

Loblaw takes next step in meeting 2013 goal to source all seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources

BRAMPTON, ON, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - The fresh seafood counters at select Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) stores look a little different today as the Company takes steps to meet its goal to source all fish and seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. Sustainable seafood means that the type of seafood caught can maintain or increase its population in the future without harming the ecosystems from which they come.

Starting today, at select corporate stores across the country, customers will notice empty trays at the seafood counter, where fish the Company has identified as "at risk" were once displayed. The goal is to create a visual message to help educate customers about sustainable seafood choices. Once a viable sustainable product can be found the trays will be filled.

"As Canada's largest buyer and seller of seafood, Loblaw has taken a hard look at the challenges facing the world's oceans and what it means to us," said Paul Uys, Vice-President, Fresh Foods, Loblaw Companies Limited. "We believe it's critical that Canadians understand this important issue, and the changes at our fresh seafood counters are among the first steps we have taken to educate customers as to why Loblaw is committed to sourcing all seafood sold in our stores from sustainable sources."

Loblaw is working with partners such as WWF-Canada and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as well as marine scientists, conservation experts and fisheries to meet its commitment.

"Research is telling us that a lot of the fish and seafood we eat are seriously depleted because of overfishing and other unsustainable fishing practices," said Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings, Professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Marine Conservation & Biodiversity at Dalhousie University, and an advisor to Loblaw. "We live in the country with the longest coastline in the world and our rich heritage in fishing extends back more than 500 years. As Canadians, we cannot afford to ignore our collective responsibility to recover the health of what lives in the oceans. We need to better educate ourselves so that we can make better choices when eating seafood and products that contain seafood as an ingredient."

To help Canadians make better choices, in addition to the changes to the fresh seafood counter, Loblaw will offer sustainable seafood guides in-store, promote products certified by MSC in the February 2010 President's Choice(R) Healthy Insider's Report(R), and host a new Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LoblawSustainableSeafood, to share information about Loblaw's seafood sustainability commitment and progress.

"Healthy oceans are important to both marine ecosystems and species that live there, as well as the fishing communities that depend on them. We can all help by purchasing sustainably sourced seafood," said Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF-Canada. "We are excited to be working with Loblaw to help them achieve their goal of 100 per cent sustainable seafood by 2013. They are showing globally significant leadership on this critical issue.

About Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-Certified Products

Customers are urged to look for products carrying the MSC ecolabel indicating the product is sustainably sourced. MSC is an independent international non-profit organization that has developed the world's leading environmental standard for independent, third-party scientific certification of sustainable and well-managed wild-capture fisheries. Available today, Loblaw is launching three new MSC certified President's Choice (R) Blue Menu(TM) products:

-   President's Choice(R) Blue Menu(TM) Wild Albacore Tuna Mini Loin
        Portions
    -   President's Choice(R) Blue Menu(TM) Wild Keta Salmon Cakes
    -   President's Choice(R) Blue Menu(TM) Encrusted Wild Keta Salmon
        Fillets in two flavours - Lemon & Cracked Black Pepper and Tomato and
        Basil

This will bring the total number of MSC certified products available in Loblaw stores to sixteen. Loblaw is the largest seller of MSC certified products in Canada. Additional information about these new products is available in the February 2010 President's Choice(R) Healthy Insider's Report(R), currently available in-store.

About Loblaw Commitment:

Loblaw's sustainable seafood commitment is driven by its corporate social responsibility pillar, source with integrity. In May 2009, Loblaw made a commitment to source all seafood sold in its retail locations from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. This commitment covers all canned, frozen, fresh, wild and farmed seafood products, in all categories.

For more information about Loblaw's commitment to sustainable seafood, please visit www.loblaw.ca/seafood and www.facebook.com/LoblawSustainableSeafood.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 139,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian customers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to customers President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty program.

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For further information: about Loblaw's sustainable seafood commitment and in-store changes, or to speak to an expert about sustainable seafood please contact: Karen Gumbs, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, Loblaw Companies Limited, (905) 459-2500 ext. 616041, karen.gumbs@loblaw.ca; Melita Vega, Senior Consultant, Hill & Knowlton, (416) 413-4743, melita.vega@hillandknowlton.ca