Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Meatless Monday — Breaking News — A Day Late

Yesterday (Monday — better late than never) there was some really big news for lovers of meat without feet. Whole Foods Market announced that it is partnering with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program and Blue Ocean Institute to label all the wild-caught seafood in its North American stores according to the sustainability criteria determined by the Aquarium's science-based organizations.

Green (Best Choice), Yellow (Good Alternative) and Red (Avoid) labels will now be displayed next to EVERY item in the seafood case, and similar information (using Whole Foods' own criteria) will be posted for farmed seafood. You can watch the Whole Foods video here.

Whole Foods has also pledged to eliminate all Red label seafood by Earth Day 2013.

This is a big step forward. But I do find myself asking two questions:
  1. Why carry the Red label fish at all?
  2. What happens to the Red label fish if no one buys it? After all, if the campaign works, that is what will happen, particularly with a price tag of $23.99/lb. for Venezuelan yellow fin tuna steaks. 
Readers of this blog have been hearing about the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s handy Seafood Watch cards for some time. You can download one here (be sure to select the correct region). That way you can have one for easy reference wherever you shop or eat.

Whole Foods is not the only chain to have taken an action on how they source their fish. In late January, Target Corp. eliminated all farmed salmon from its fresh, frozen and smoked seafood sections at stores nationwide. Farmed salmon has been deemed less healthy than wild-caught salmon for a number of reasons, including the the high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in supermarket samples. You can read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s thoughts on the subject here.

Finally, there is good news for those of you who eat eggs. The blog Food Democracy Now announced on September 2 that Trader Joe’s and Fareway Stores Inc., have agreed to pull DeCoster-affiliated brands of eggs from the shelves of their combined 442 stores nationwide. DeCoster is the the owner of both Wright County and Hillandale Farms, the two Iowa farms linked to this summer’s salmonella outbreak. Food Democracy Now had organized an online campaign requesting this action.

PS I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal  health and the health of our planet.”

1 comment:

  1. If Whole Foods does not carry any varieties of fish with the RED label, how will we ever learn that such a classification exists and what is to keep us from going elsewhere in our unknowing state of mind to buy the fish of our desires. Better to learn first-hand even if it means sacrificing some along the way to the kitty bowl.