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Whole Foods Market offers sustainable seafood choice
13 Oct 2010
Whole Foods Market, one of the leading supermarket chains in the United States, has launched an in-store colour-coded sustainability rating programme for wild-caught seafood and commits to phasing out all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013.
Partnering with New York-based ocean conservation organisation, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California, Whole Foods Market will provide a comprehensive, science-based sustainability rating system for wild-caught seafood. The system’s green, yellow and red ratings will make it easy for shoppers to make informed choices at the seafood case. Green or “best choice” ratings indicate a species is relatively abundant and is caught in environment-friendly ways; yellow or “good alternative” ratings mean some concerns exist with the species’ status or catch methods; and red or “avoid” ratings mean that for now the species is suffering from overfishing, or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats. The new initiative expands upon the sustainable seafood programme that Whole Foods Market has had with London's Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an independent non-profit organisation with an ecolabel and fishery certification programme since 1999, and the new ratings apply only to non-MSC-certified fish.
“At the end of the day, it’s a team effort. Our customers, buyers, fishermen and fishery managers can all make smart decisions that move us in the direction of greater seafood sustainability,” said Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market seafood quality standards coordinator. “The new colour-coded rating system is a transparent way to provide sustainability status information. This new programme, along with our promise to phase out red-rated species, deepens our commitment to having fully sustainable seafood departments.”
Whole Foods Market previously stopped selling especially vulnerable red-rated species such as non-MSC-certified Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, bluefin tuna, sharks, and marlins (with the exception of Hawaii-caught blue marlin, sold only in Hawaii stores). All swordfish and tuna from red-rated fisheries will be removed from seafood counters by Earth Day 2011. By Earth Day 2012, all other seafood from red-rated fisheries will be discontinued with the exception of Atlantic cod and sole, which will be sold through Earth Day 2013.
The company’s new wild-caught seafood rating programme and partnerships will complement its existing farmed seafood standards, which remain the highest in the industry.
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