Compass Group, Contessa Announce Sustainable Farmed-Shrimp Purchasing Standards

February 11, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ — Compass Group USA, Foodbuy LLC and Contessa Premium Foods today announce the first successful implementation by a major food service company of sustainable purchasing standards for imported farm-raised shrimp. The standards – including independent, third-party audits – have been endorsed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.

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Foodbuy is the procurement company for Compass Group.

Historically, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s respected Seafood Watch program deemed all imported farm-raised shrimp unsustainable and placed them on the “Avoid” list. Contessa Premium Foods is providing Compass Group the first and only imported farm-raised shrimp recognized as sustainable by Seafood Watch. These sustainable shrimp standards are unique within the food service industry in that they advocate real and achievable environmental benchmarks, and establish a process to document that those benchmarks are being achieved.

The purchasing standards were developed by Compass Group and Contessa, in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. By applying these standards to specific shrimp farms, and by including a third-party process to verify that the standards are being applied in the field, Contessa has met Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch criteria for a “Good Alternative” ranking.

“Monterey Bay Aquarium has been a highly valued partner with Compass in developing our entire sustainable seafood program,” said Marc Zammit, vice president of sustainability initiatives for Compass. “They have worked closely with us and Contessa over several years in an intensive program that included in-country testing, as well as independent confirmation.”

“The goal of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has been to harness the power of the marketplace to create real change that translates into healthy oceans,” said Edward Cassano, senior director of conservation outreach for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “Compass Group’s strong commitment to the Seafood Watch program, and Contessa’s willingness to work at the farm level to provide a fully traceable supply of sustainably farmed shrimp in line with Seafood Watch criteria, demonstrates that significant, conservation-oriented shrimp aquaculture practices are possible.”

“Compass Group and other major seafood buyers are demanding sustainable seafood that meets the sustainability standards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium program,” Cassano added. “Producers and suppliers who take the lead – as Contessa has done – will be rewarded for their efforts by the marketplace.”

Compass’ sustainable shrimp purchasing standards advocate an effective procurement policy that supports ecologically responsible aquaculture practices. Core practices of sustainable shrimp aquaculture include maintaining mangrove ecosystems, minimizing other ecosystem impacts, eliminating antibiotic use, reducing excessive reliance on feed from wild sources and promoting overall compliance with local, national and international laws.

The standards also require product traceability back to the source, to ensure that 100 percent of the shrimp sold to Compass comes from farms that meet its sustainable purchasing standards. The standards recognize the sustainability achievements that Contessa has already put in place while providing a roadmap for ongoing improvements and benchmarks for such improvement.

Under these standards, Contessa has been recognized as the exclusive supplier of sustainable shrimp for Compass Group and Foodbuy.

“We are all confident that ongoing monitoring will ensure that these significant standards achieve measurable ecological gains,” said Rick Stone, vice president of sustainability, Foodbuy.

“We are proud of our pioneering group effort and believe it will help protect ecosystems while responsibly feeding our growing population,” said John Z. Blazevich, president and CEO of Contessa Premium Foods.

About Compass Group: Based in Charlotte NC, Compass Group North America is the leading foodservice and support services company with $9.2 billion in revenues in 2009. With 386,000 associates worldwide, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of 13.4 billion pounds Sterling in the year to September 30, 2009. www.cgnad.com

About Foodbuy LLC: Foodbuy LLC is the largest Group Purchasing Company (GPO) for high volume multi-unit food operators in North America. Foodbuy purchases thousands of food and non-food items from a select number of quality suppliers and works with primary and secondary suppliers for most categories. Their procurement office is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is responsible for negotiating significant savings by focusing on the purchasing needs of multi-unit operators on a category by category basis.

About Contessa Premium Foods, Inc.: Contessa Premium Foods is an environmentally and nutritionally responsible food manufacturer producing high quality frozen seafood, prepared meals and exotic vegetables for retail, club, foodservice, military and private label channels. Contessa is recognized globally for exceeding industry standards and celebrated for its product innovation, premium quality and environmental contribution. In 2007, Contessa built the world’s first green LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant; reducing energy use and carbon dioxide (CO(2)) emissions by 65% daily; and 100% carbon neutral. www.contessa.com

About Monterey Bay Aquarium: The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans. The Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program empowers seafood consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans. In doing so, the program works to transform seafood markets in ways that create incentives for sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices. www.montereybayaquarium.org

SOURCE Compass Group USA

Source: newswire

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