Leading Restaurant Group Adopts GAA Certification
Parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, will require certification of shrimp suppliers' environmental, social responsibility
Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest casual dining company in sales and market share, supports the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA)'s newly revised Best Aquaculture Practices standards and will begin requiring its farmed shrimp suppliers to become BAP-certified.
The Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards provide quantitative international guidelines and auditing procedures that limit environmental impacts and protect the wholesomeness of shrimp throughout the production process. Developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance with input from technical experts and non-governmental organizations, the BAP program includes participating shrimp hatcheries, farms and processing plants worldwide.
"It isn't surprising that Darden Restaurants was the first company in the restaurant industry to adopt the BAP standards," Global Aquaculture Alliance President George Chamberlain said. "Darden has been a pioneer in supporting responsible aquaculture and seafood safety."
Darden, which owns and operates more than 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52 restaurants, adds the BAP standards to its already stringent internal program of food quality assurance testing.
"BAP certification benefits consumers, buyers and the diverse aquaculture supply chain by providing a uniform set of standards to assure that shrimp are responsibly produced," Chamberlain said.
"This certification program will improve sustainable practices across a wide range of shrimp-farming activities, such as wetland conservation, effluent management and drug and chemical management," Darden Vice President of Environmental Relations George Williams said. "These practices represent continuous improvement in the environmental, social and food safety aspects of shrimp farming."
The Best Aquaculture Practices standards are exclusively implemented through site inspections and ongoing audits carried out by Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. During inspections, its global team of independent certifiers reviews facility procedures and infrastructure, samples effluents and checks records for compliance. ACC also requires traceability of shrimp products from processing plants back through the supply chain to the farms and ponds where the animals were raised.
"In keeping with Darden's ongoing commitment to quality assurance and responsible production, we are joining these efforts," Darden Senior Vice President of Seafood Purchasing Bill Herzig said. "We aim to help the entire industry come together around quantitative standards and certification of compliance."
Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international non-profit trade organization dedicated to advancing responsible fish and shellfish farming. GAA plans to build on the current BAP standards with additional components for shrimp feed mill certification and laboratory verification of the food safety of final shrimp products. Once the comprehensive standards for farmed shrimp are complete, GAA will begin to introduce parallel standards for farmed fish and mollusks.
For additional information on the Best Aquaculture Practices standards, contact BAP Standards Coordinator Daniel Lee:firstname.lastname@example.org; or the Global Aquaculture Alliance office: email@example.com. For more on BAP facility certification, visit the Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. website at http://www.aquaculturecertification.org or contact ACC Vice President William More: firstname.lastname@example.org.