Top US retailer colour codes fish –

Top US retailer colour codes fish Published:  15 September, 2010

ONE of the leading natural food retailers in the United States is to colour code the fish it sells so its customers can buy the most sustainable species.

Whole Foods Market says that fish coded with a green label will indicate best choice or fish that is in abundance or fished in an environmentally friendly way. A yellow sticker offers a good alternative, but possible with ‘some concerns’ on fishing methods while the red is a species to avoid indicating that it is in danger of being over fished or that current catching methods harm other marine life.

The move indicates a growing trend among retailers in the United States to be more selective about the sustainability of the seafood they sell from their shelves. But this is thought to be the first colour coded system North America.  The new initiative expands on a sustainable seafood program Whole Foods Market launched with the Marine Stewardship Council in 1999. The new ratings only apply to non-MSC-certified fish.

Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market seafood quality standards coordinator. said: “Our customers, buyers, fishermen and fishery managers can all make smart decisions that move us in the direction of greater seafood sustainability. The new colour-coded rating system is a transparent way to provide sustainability status information.” Whole Foods has also pledged to eliminate all red-list seafood by Earth Day 2013. Two of the largest foodservice companies in the United States, Compass Group and Aramark, have also promised to phase out endangered ranked seafood over the next few years, with an emphasis on more sustainable species.