Dutch Government Study Ranks MSC as a Top Sustainable Food Label

London, UK – For the second time, the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue fish label has been ranked as one of the top sustainable food labels in the Netherlands. The benchmarking study was carried out by Milieu Centraal, a Dutch environmental information and education foundation, on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. Out of almost 100 ecolabels included in the study, only 10* were awarded the title “top keurmerk” (top ecolabel), with the MSC getting full marks for credibility and transparency.  

“It’s clear that, with almost 100 labels in the Netherlands, it is becoming increasingly confusing for Dutch consumers trying to make responsible food choices. We applaud the initiative taken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality to add some clarity and we are proud to be named one of the ten top labels,” said Hans Nieuwenhuis, MSC Program Director for the Benelux region. “This is the second of these studies conducted by Milieu Centraal in the Netherlands and the second time that the MSC’s label has been confirmed as top-notch and one that consumers can trust.”  

Reaching a higher bar 

The total number of labels assessed increased this year from the first time the study was conducted in 2016, however the number awarded “top keurmerk” has decreased, reflecting the higher bar set this year. Milieu Centraal added several new elements to this year’s assessment including whether the labelling organisation implements continuous improvement of its requirements and also whether the organisation reports on its impacts. The MSC has always been committed to continuous improvement and recently launched the list of topics for the latest review of its standard. This review will take place in close cooperation with all stakeholders, including the seafood industry, NGOs, scientists and governments. The MSC also publishes detailed reports on its impacts and so scored well in this category too. The 10 top labels for sustainable food this year are: ASC, Beter Leven 2 en 3sterren, Demeter, EKO, European quality mark for organic, Fairtrade, MSC, On the way to PlanetProof, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ.