Whole Foods Implements Farmed Seafood Standards
Whole Foods Market is requiring its farmed-seafood suppliers to undergo an independent, third-party audit against new internal aquaculture standards to ensure the product it sells is raised in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, the world's largest natural foods retailer announced today.
Whole Foods spent two years developing the standards, consulting environmentalists (including the Environmental Defense Fund of New York), academic scientists, government officials and fish farmers worldwide.
The retailer's farmed seafood standards had already prohibited the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, preservatives (including sulfites and poultry and mammalian byproducts in feed) and genetically modified or cloned seafood.
"When a leading retailer like Whole Foods makes this kind of commitment to standards for farmed seafood, suppliers around the world will work to meet the requirements," adds Becky Goldburg, senior scientist for Environmental Defense Fund.
The new standards include the following requirements:
• Producers must minimize the environmental impacts of fish farming by protecting sensitive habitats such as mangrove forests and wetlands, monitoring water quality to prevent pollution and sourcing feed ingredients responsibly
• Producers must pass independent, third-party audits
• Hatcheries, fish farmers and processors must provide farm-to-fork product traceability
• Substances such as malachite green and organophosphate pesticides are prohibited
"For years our seafood standards made us a leader in our industry. Now we have taken an additional step by embarking on an intensive process to further develop and enhance our farmed seafood standards," says Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods' seafood quality standards coordinator. "By working closely with the farmers who produce the highest quality farmed seafood for our shoppers, Whole Foods is proud to set the bar even higher."
The Austin, Texas-based company, which operates 270 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, reported fiscal 2007 sales of nearly $6.6 billion.
"There is no doubt that Whole Foods' aquaculture standards are the strongest among all supermarkets," says Johan Andreassen, CEO and co-founder of Norway's Villa Organic, which supplies Whole Foods with farmed salmon. "Producers who want to supply farmed salmon to Whole Foods must be dedicated to moving the salmon industry in the right direction."