The Marine Stewardship Council announced today that Halperns' Purveyors of Steak and Seafood, a family owned business with locations throughout the Southeast U.S., has become the first MSC Chain of Custody certified seafood distributor in Atlanta, Georgia. Halperns' will immediately begin to supply its customers with MSC certified fresh and frozen seafood products, starting with Alaska salmon, haddock and cod, that will assure chefs and consumers that the seafood can be traced all the way back to an MSC certified sustainable fishery.

Howard I. Halpern, chairman, said: "This is quite an honor to us. Halperns' has always strived to be an industry leader and our commitment on the seafood side is just as intense as on the meat side."

Kerry Coughlin, MSC regional director, Americas, said: "Halperns' is known as a family-owned business committed to providing the best products, and Halperns' commitment to selling MSC certified sustainable seafood is a natural step that will show chefs and consumers that Halperns' focus includes environmentally responsible sourcing of seafood. Halperns' participation in the MSC program will help build awareness that everyone can make a difference in protecting seafood supplies for future generations." Based in Atlanta, Halperns' operates throughout the Southeast U.S., providing custom cut meat and fresh and frozen seafood to some of the country's most prestigious restaurants, hotels, resorts, steakhouses, casinos and country clubs. Halperns' also operates production facilities in New Jersey, serving New York and Atlantic City, and Pompano, Florida serving South Florida and the Caribbean. The Halpern family started in the distribution business over 40 years ago and today, employs more than 300 people in three locations.

The MSC Chain of Custody certification is a comprehensive traceability program that traces seafood from the point of sale back to an MSC certified fishery. It ensures that MSC-labeled products are sourced from a fishery that is MSC certified, and it protects buyers and the fishery from fraudulent labeling and risks from fisheries carrying products from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. As a result, the sustainability of the seafood product is ensured, the MSC-certified fishery of origin receives well-deserved recognition, and incentive is created for other fisheries to commit to environmentally responsible fishing practices.

To obtain MSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification, wholesalers and distributors must pass an independent, third party audit that is conducted by an accredited certification body, and it must undergo annual surveillance audits to demonstrate it continues to meet the standard. The CoC standard focuses on having an internal traceability system and reliable operational systems in place to ensure that MSC-certified seafood is kept separate from noncertified seafood. Worldwide, more than 1,800 companies have obtained Chain of Custody certification.

For more information, please visit this press release online at www.msc.org

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