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Yes, we could see retailers pulling pangasius due to pressure from third parties. Recent articles from SeafoodSource highlight that Carrefour and other European retailers have stopped selling pangasius due to environmental or health concerns.

A Spanish confederation of parents and mothers sent a letter to Spanish health authorities asking for a ban on pangasius for health and environmental reasons. Spanish and E.U. health authorities have not found credible science to ban the fish, so the governments say selling pangasius is okay. But retailers in Europe have vowed to stop selling pangasius due to public pressure and heavy media attention.

The same thing could happen in the United States. Many trends tend to come from Europe, then to the U.S. coasts, and then to the middle of the country. Look at how sushi spread across the U.S., starting on the West Coast and East Coast, and now making its way into supermarkets in Iowa, Texas and everywhere else. Issues such as sustainability and carbon emissions have traveled similar paths to impact food sourcing in every part of the United States. It doesn’t always take facts; perception is often more powerful than facts in today’s world.

Retail seafood buyers need to stay on top of this issue. If I am a retail buyer, I am working closely with my supplier to make sure I have written specifications outlining quality, safety and responsible growing practices in place. I want these assurances in writing from the supplier, and from their supplier if need be, back to the source. I want third party verifications on safety, such as audits from a GFSI-approved scheme.

I might start looking at promoting other options, too. Replacing frozen pangasius sales would be a challenge for many retailers.

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