Join Fish and Kids
Guidance for School Meal Providers
Joining Fish and Kids essentially involves sourcing MSC fish from your seafood supplier, then getting MSC certified (this is a traceability certificate to prove that you are sourcing and serving MSC fish), then you are able to use the MSC ecolabel on your school menus/promotional literature and be involved in the educational opportunities in the project.
This page contains all the information you need to join Fish and Kids if you are an LEA caterer or contract caterer responsible for school meals.
If you are an independant school and/or have an in-house catering arangement, click here to learn about the MSC's special arrangements for independant canteens.
If you are supplied by Brakes, joining Fish and Kids is easy, click here to find out how!
Joining Fish and Kids
1. Source MSC seafood from your seafood supplier. Brakes, 3663, Crown Foods, CSP Food Services, UK Foodhall, J Sykes & Sons Ltd and Birds Eye are now all certified to supply MSC seafood. If you use a different supplier, encourage them to get certified! (Or you'll need to switch supplier). A full list of certified suppliers is available in our supplier directory.
2. Get 'Chain of Custody' certified. Just like your supplier, you must get certified to use the MSC ecolabel - it is to ensure MSC fish is fully traceable, right back through the supply chain to the fishery. Certification involves providing evidence that you or your schools are buying and serving MSC seafood, storing it correctly so it doesn't get mixed up, and making your staff aware of what the MSC ecolabel means. You can use this Kitchen checklist to help.
You provide this evidence via an initial assessment audit and after this, provided you comply, you are certified. Thereafter you will be audited annually for surveillance.
The assessment audits are carried out by independant auditors ('certifiers'), and a list of these is available here.
3. Keep the necessary records. You don't need to be serving only MSC seafood to get Chain of Custody certified, although it does make proving traceability easier. You need to put systems in place to ensure and prove that MSC seafood will be supplied reliably. For example, Surrey Commercial Services select only MSC products on an Approved Buying List. Non-MSC fish options are 'blocked' and alternative MSC products selected as substitutes in case of an 'out of stock'. Their supplier confirms this in writing.
4. Communicate to staff. Explain the MSC, Fish and Kids, and the MSC eco-label to your staff. This will ensure that staff in schools will communicate the message of sustainable seafood effectively, and will also understand the requirements of Chain of Custody certification. You can use this staff quiz to help.
5. Sign an Ecolabel Licence Agreement. This document allows you to use the ecolabel on your school menus and promotional literature. Contact email@example.com and they will send you an agreement to sign and return. We will also need to see draft copies of the menu and any material featuring the MSC ecolabel.
A one-page summary of the overall Fish & Kids project is available here for background information or as a way of getting started with Fish & Kids.
Surrey Commercial Services (SCS)
The Fish & Kids project started with a pilot in 350 schools in Surrey County Council. Surrey Commercial Services (SCS), their school meals provider, and Brakes, their foodservice supplier, helped them become the first Local Education Authority (LEA) in England to use the eco-label on their school menus. See what the Surrey menu looks like here.
Surrey created a Policy Document which is kept at their Council head office, then each school recieved a welcome and useful information document, and signed the Note of Acknowledgement to confirm they had all the information they need. You can use these guidance documents as templates for your own sustainable sourcing systems.
Welcome and guidance documents were developed and sent to each kitchen, so the caterer at each school was kept informed. The Information Sheet and Audit Checklist described the Fish & Kids project and what would be expected of the caterers during an audit.