Canada's Bento Sushi establishes new MSC milestone as the largest restaurant chain in North America to achieve MSC certification

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Bento Sushi achieved a new milestone in the Marine Stewardship Council program today when 124 locations in Loblaw banner stores across Canada achieved MSC Chain of Custody certification.  This makes Bento Sushi the largest restaurant chain in North America to achieve MSC Chain of Custody certification for traceability and promotion of sustainable seafood from MSC certified fisheries. In addition to the locations announced today, audits are currently underway to certify 176 additional Bento Sushi locations across Canada, which would bring the total to more than 300.

"MSC Chain of Certification marks a significant milestone for Bento Sushi in its thought leadership and commitment to seafood sustainability," said Frank Hennessey, president and CEO, Bento Sushi. "We believe our guests expect we will do the right thing so they can enjoy great tasting and affordable sushi and feel good that their decision to do so is actually helping to support sustainability."

As the largest sushi company in Canada, Bento serves more than 13 million handmade servings of sushi every year through a network of quick service 'grab and go' sushi bars in premier shopping malls and office towers and more than 350 on-site sushi bars in quality supermarkets and food service facilities.
The brands which the company's products are known by include: Bento, Bento Express and Bento Sushi.

Bento Sushi's MSC Chain of Custody certification comes less than a week before Loblaw Companies Limited launches its Oceans for Tomorrow event.   From September 13 to 26, 2012, Loblaw is introducing an in-store event called Oceans for Tomorrow, aimed at educating and engaging customers about the importance of choosing sustainable seafood and Loblaw's commitment to keeping oceans healthy in select Loblaw banner stores across Canada. Visit www.oceansfortomorrow.ca for more information.

"Loblaw Companies Limited applauds Bento Sushi for its commitment to seafood sustainability" said Paul Uys, vice president, sustainable seafood, at Loblaw Companies Limited. "As Canada's largest seller of MSC certified products, we're proud to support this important industry achievement."

Today's announcement continues Canada's remarkable record of leadership and commitment to seafood sustainability that includes:

  • More than 25 Canadian fisheries MSC certified or in full assessment;
  • Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada's largest grocery retailer,  advancement toward its certified sustainable goal for 100 per cent of seafood sold in its stores by the end of 2013; and,
  • Bento Sushi's MSC Chain of Custody certification, which will immediately provide hundreds of thousands of Canadian residents with certified sustainable sushi. It is a positive, affirmative message and gives customers a direct way to recognize and reward MSC certified sustainable fisheries.

Kerry Coughlin, MSC Regional Director, Americas, said: "Bento Sushi's commitment to sourcing and promoting MSC certified sustainable seafood will have an impact across the country, enabling Canadians to directly help protect seafood supplies for generations to come, which also preserves the livelihoods and communities that depend on commercial fishing. MSC congratulates and commends Bento Sushi."

The MSC Chain of Custody certification is a comprehensive traceability program that traces seafood from the point of sale back to an MSC certified fishery.  It ensures that MSC-labeled products are sourced from a fishery that is MSC certified, and it protects buyers and the fishery from fraudulent labeling and risks from fisheries carrying products from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. As a result, the sustainability of the seafood product is ensured, the MSC-certified fishery of origin receives well-deserved recognition, and incentive is created for other fisheries to commit to environmentally responsible fishing practices.

To obtain MSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification, wholesalers and distributors must pass an independent, third party audit that is conducted by an accredited certification body, and it must undergo annual surveillance audits to demonstrate it continues to meet the standard.  The CoC standard focuses on having an internal traceability system and reliable operational systems in place to ensure that MSC-certified seafood is kept separate from noncertified seafood.  Worldwide, more than 2,100 companies have obtained Chain of Custody certification.

About Bento Sushi

With over 900 highly trained and skilled sushi chefs, Bento offers an army of skilled artisans, lending an air of true authenticity to sushi preparation. Bento offers a best-in-class food safety program, combining rigorous internal and third-party auditing. Passionate about the environment, Bento aims to provide great tasting sushi in the most sustainable, responsible manner possible.

About the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization set up to help transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis. The MSC runs the only certification and ecolabeling program for wild-capture fisheries consistent with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Guidelines for the Eco-labeling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries. These guidelines are based upon the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing and require that credible fishery certification and ecolabeling schemes include:

  • 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.

The MSC has offices in London, Seattle, Tokyo, Sydney, The Hague, Glasgow, Berlin, Cape Town, Paris, Madrid and Stockholm.

In total, over 280 fisheries are engaged in the MSC program with 179 certified and 108 under full assessment. Another 40 to 50 fisheries are in confidential pre-assessment. Together, fisheries already certified or in full assessment record annual catches of close to 10 million metric tonnes of seafood. This represents over 11 per cent of the annual global harvest of wild capture fisheries. Certified fisheries currently land over seven million metric tonnes of seafood annually - close to eight per cent of the total harvest from wild capture fisheries. Worldwide, more than 16,000 seafood products, which can be traced back to the certified sustainable fisheries, bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

For more information on the work of the MSC, please visit www.msc.org.

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SOURCE: Bento Sushi

For further information:

Media contacts: 

Mike DeCesare
Communications Director-Americas
Marine Stewardship Council
(Seattle, WA)
Email: mike.decesare@msc.org 
Phone: +1-206-631-2496

Carol Endicott
H+K Strategies (for Bento Sushi)
Email: carol.endicott@hkstrategies.ca
Phone: +1-416-413-4767

For more information, please read this press release online at http://www.msc.org/newsroom/

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Bento Sushi

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Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

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