Following Carrefour’s lead, supermarkets cease pangasius sales in Spain, Italy

Italian supermarkets are following the lead of Carrefour and halting sales of pangasius, citing concerns about its environmental footprint.

And the trend-setting French supermarket chain is doubling down on its decision, announcing that it will no longer sell the fish - mainly farmed in Vietnam - in its stores in Spain.

According to El País, Carrefour Spain, which in 2015 imported the most pangasius of all E.U. countries, will follow the lead of the company’s Belgian and French groups and cease the sale of all pangasius, from fresh to frozen.

“Even if Carrefour is certain that the quality of the pangasius it sold is impeccable, the impact of fish farming on the environment cannot be controlled [due to] water pollution caused by the amount of excreta and food waste,” the company said in a statement on its website.

Spain imported 23,170 metric tons of pangasius in 2015, valued at EUR 47.6 million (USD 44.2 million), according to figures provided to El País by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fish, Food and the Environment.

Italian supermarkets have also halted sales of pangasius, including Esselunga and Co-op, according to Il Messagero, and European Supermarket Magazine (ESM) is reporting that Carrefour’s Italian branch is also expected to announce its decision to halt pangasius sales.

The Italian region of Emilia Romagna has swapped out pangasius its school cafeterias, instead offering local Adriatic bluefish, ESM reported.

Meanwhile, pushback from seafood distributors of the growing movement away from pangasius has mounted. Belgian distributor Pittman Seafoods criticized the blanket condemnation of pangasius as “unfortunate” and “misleading.”

“There are a lot of standards and certification rules, ensuring that consumers are getting a healthy and sustainable piece of fish,” it said in a statement.

The company said it inspects all farms it buys from “to see how our producers work and whether our suppliers meet our specifications, standards and values.

“It is important for us is that we can guarantee to our customers that their fish is really high quality and sustainable,” the company said.


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