Group: Sustainable seafood claims misleading

A London-based environmental group is accusing the United Kingdom’s retailers — including Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose — of making misleading environmental claims on seafood packaging.

According to a new report from ClientEarth, environmental claims such as “sustainably sourced,” “protects the marine environment” and “responsibly farmed” were found to be misleading or unverified on 32 of the 100 seafood products the organization examined.

“Consumers need to be able to trust labels, but in reality claims such as ‘sustainably sourced’ or ‘responsibly farmed’ are often misleading,” said ClientEarth CEO James Thornton. “The purchasing power of consumers is critical to stopping overfishing. In the EU alone, 88 percent of stocks are overfished, and retailers know that widespread concern about this leads people to buy one product over another.”

ClientEarth is calling for stronger regulation of seafood labeling, urging that standards be introduced for environmental claims on seafood products in the same way that there are standards for the term “organic.”

The organization is also recommending that the UK Advertising Standards Authority extend its authority to cover packaging and labeling as well as advertising.

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