December 6, 2013

2016 Olympics to use sustainably-sourced seafoodThe Olympic games have long been a standard-bearer for a wide range of trends, from fashion to food. And with a recent announcement from Rio de Janeiro, host of the 2016 summer games, that legacy is likely to continue.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Rio 2016 committee announced that it would serve only reliably-sourced, sustainable seafood to athletes, staff and media during when it hosts one of the most iconic events in the world in less than three years.

Agreement reached between Rio and stewardship groups
The announcement came after Sidney Levy, chief executive officer of the 2016 games, signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The MoUs will remain in effect until after the games conclude, and they reflect Rio 2016’s commitment to hosting games that promote environmentally sustainable practices.

The MSC and ASC are both nonprofit organizations that monitor and certify seafood products around the world in an effort to promote more sustainable fishing practices.

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with MSC and ASC to support the respected work that they have done, and continue to do, with the fisheries and fish farms of Brazil,” Julie Duffus, Rio 2016 sustainability manager, said in a statement. “This will ensure that our catering not only improves the local food industry but improves it to a standard that will leave a lasting, positive legacy post Games for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.”

Millions of meals to be sustainably sourced
Olympics organizers are expecting to serve an astounding 14 million meals over the course of the games in 2016. So ensuring that those meals are sustainably sourced, especially in seafood-mad Brazil, could have an impact that lasts well beyond the time millions of foreigners spend participating and watching the games.

Impact of Rio 2016’s move
The Olympics draw hundreds of millions of viewers from across the world, and those people are often just as interested in what goes on behind the scenes as they are with what’s happening on the playing field. That means the implementation of sustainably-sourced seafood could end up drawing the type of international attention that is crucial to furthering movements of this kind.

On a more cooking-related note, the heavy use of seafood might also lead to a greater interest in seafood cuisine among students in culinary classes. It will also likely serve to increase public consciousness of South American cuisine.