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Aquaculture Standards

This past Wednesday, Whole Foods Market launched our enhanced aquaculture standards — standout stuff for the industry. Our seafood quality standards team spent the last couple of years researching and investigating all of the issues surrounding farmed fish. They worked with the fish farmers as well as environmental groups and scientists to develop the very best standards out there. In this podcast, I talk to Carrie Brownstein, our Seafood Quality Standards Coordinator, and David Pilat, our Global Seafood Coordinator, to find out all of the scoop on these standards.

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Martin Ehrlich MD says …

Congratultations on thelaunching of the Aquaculture standards. I hope that this will provide a framework for the industry from which national and international standards can be developed.

Shannon says …

It was nice to read and listen about your standards regarding the farmed fish! Thanks for posting about it! My husband and I are always so cautious when we buy fish and try to stick to the wild caught, which sometimes we are limited to what we can get. Now we can rest assure that we are getting good quality 'farmed' fish at your store. We are in WF ( I was there today as a matter of fact) about once per week and love to try something new from the fish/seafood counter (and we love the guy who works behind the counter, he gives us great recommendations!). I'm also happy that you are keeping the standards high in organic foods in general. 'Organic' seems to be found everywhere now and I really hope that doesn't diminish or 'blend' the real quality of organic foods compared to conventional foods..... do you know what I mean? Like seeing 'Kraft Organic' is weird for me, it seems like those two words should be oxymoron's :o) I guess I'm trying to say that I hope organic being in all the mainstream grocery stores doesn't effect the quality organic should be. Anyway, it's nice to know that WF is being active in their quality. Thanks! ~Shannon from Michigan

says …

(<em>Transparency alert: Edmund is our Global Vice President of Procurement for Perishables</em>) The International Frozen Food Associations ‘Global Frozen Seafood Magazine’ estimates that global production of farmed salmon is over 3 billion pounds while marine advocacy organizations like the World Wild Life Fund place the number closer to 2 billion. It is estimated that in the United States we consume 700 million pounds of the farmed salmon. The United States produces around 1% of the global supply. It is probable that farmed salmon is the third largest consumed seafood product in the United States behind shrimp and canned tuna. Farmed salmon seems to be growing on a per capita basis while tuna is declining and shrimp is static. The use of chemical inputs in the production of farmed salmon is common practice (anti foulants, antibiotics, and nutrient pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus). On average for every 100,000 pounds of farmed salmon produced, 7,000 pounds of chemicals are released into the environment. If you think about the role the U.S. plays in driving global production of farmed salmon; we have a very important responsibility to evolve that industry. The contributions that WFM will make to improving healthy marine resource management in the world through the market place by adhering to seafood standards can be as dramatic as the impact that they made on terrestrial based organic farming. While the consumption of seafood is declining in the United States (consumption was down 16.3 lbs per capita in 2007) we are still the third largest consumer behind China and Japan. Understanding that current production information is inconsistent; it can be estimated that between 3 &amp; 6% of the farmed salmon produced in the world can meet the WFM standard. We are starting from a very good place if you think about the fact that only a fraction of a percentage of plant or animal based farm products were organic back in the early 1980’s. It is very important that WFM is successful in launching Farmed Seafood Standards in that this represents a mission driven initiative that can catalyze the market place to be an agent of change. When the market place facilitates change it creates a virtuous circle that perseveres creating a greater quality of life for all living things.