Greenpeace recently released its 2013 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report, ranking American supermarkets on sustainable seafood policies. Before this year, only Whole Foods and Safeway earned the group’s “green rating.” Greenpeace this year added Trader Joe’s to the list and acknowledged Walmart for introducing pole-and-line caught albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country. The report scores supermarkets a rating of between zero and 10 on factors including sales of “red list: seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, and transparency of supply. Whole Foods is rated at the top with a score of 7.3, followed by Safeway (7.1), Trader Joe’s (7.0), and Wegman’s (6.9). The complete list is posted [HERE].
June 11 – Massachusetts consumers may soon get reassurance that fish they order in restaurants is really what it says on the menu.
A Massachusetts House hearing on food safety today included discussion on fining supermarkets and restaurants if they mislabel seafood, and would ban the sale of escolar, an oily species of fish often sold as albacore in some East Coast sushi restaurants.
Two years of reporting by the Boston Globe revealed widespread mislabeling of fish in area restaurants; they substitued less expensive fish for the “albacore” and other more expensive fish on their menus.
Under the proposed legislation, Massachusetts businesses caught misrepresenting fish could face fines of up to $800 and have their operating license suspended or revoked. Restaurants caught serving escolar, often mislabeled as albacore at sushi restaurants, could be fined. [READ MORE HERE]
JUNE 26 – Bence Brown of Omaha, Nebraska, likes tuna casserole so much that he requests it on his birthday, and his recipe for tuna casserole was the statewide winner in a national contest for healthy recipes sponsored by the White House.
Bence will travel to Washington DC with the other state winners to enjoy lunch with Michelle Obama.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge contest is part of the First Lady’s program to improve kids’ nutrition and reduce childhood obesity, and it drew over 1,300 entries. The judging panel included a White House nutrition policy adviser.
Bence, a 4th grader at Sunset Hills Elementary, plays piano, hunts ducks and turkey with his dad, and enjoys cooking. His casserole recipe is online [HERE].
JUNE 13 – The Vancouver Aquarium in Canada has created a program to educate consumers and help restaurants choose sustainable responsibly harvested fish and seafood. The Ocean Wise program lists wild Pacific albacore as a recommended choice.
“We have already depleted over 90 percent of large, predatory fish,” said Ocean Wise coordinator Theodora Geach. “We must take immediate action to change our behaviors to ensure that fish stocks are available now, and for generations to come.”
According to Fast Forward Weekly, the Ocean Wise program is supported by more than 110 restaurants, markets, and food service outlets in the province of Alberta — even though it’s a landlocked Canadian province. Nationwide, Canada has 480 Ocean Wise members and 3,100 restaurants signed up.
Ocean Wise choices include halibut, sablefish, and albacore tuna
— along with scallops, oysters, and spot prawns. The criteria for Ocean Wise designation include species that are:
1. Abundant and resilient to fishing pressures
2. Well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research
3. Harvested in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species
4. Harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species
More information on the program is available at oceanwise.ca