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Publix Launches Sustainable Seafood Grading System

Publix is launching a new seafood grading system that will rank more than 300 seafood items from tuna steaks to frozen shrimp on sustainability and other environmental standards, reports the Miami Herald.

The Publix project has been under development for three years but was unveiled to its more than 70 seafood suppliers last summer.

Publix already sells 47 products certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, including Patagonian Bay scallops, Alaskan coho, king and sockeye salmon, Alaskan pollock, halibut and sablefish.

The retailer is working with three environmental groups — the Ocean Trust, Ocean Conservancy and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership — to develop its sustainability standards.

By August, Publix expects to categorize supplies into three groups: Sustainable, Needs Improvement, and Needs Major Improvement. Publix officials told the newspaper that if the fisheries don’t improve over time, it will stop buying from them.

In January, Target and Safeway also announced new sustainable seafood initiatives, reports Supermarket News. Target said it would no longer sell farmed salmon at its stores, while Safeway  would partner with marine conservation group FishWise to develop and implement a more comprehensive sustainable seafood policy.

Greenpeace recently released its annual seafood sustainability scorecard with half of the leading supermarket chains in the U.S. receiving passing scores for the first time.

The supermarket chain Target moved up from fourth place to receive top ranking, moving Wegmans to second place. Whole Foods maintained third place from its June 2009 ranking.

Trader Joe’s which had the worst ranking of the national supermarket chains surveyed at number 17 has moved to a tenth place ranking with its announcement in March that it is taking specific steps to develop a sustainable seafood operation. Safeway climbed from fifth place to fourth, and Costco dropped from tenth place to fourteenth.

Here is the ranking (PDF).

1. Target

2. Wegmans

3. Whole Foods

4. Safeway (Dominicks, Genuardi’s, Pavilions, Randall’s, Von’s)

5. Ahold USA (Stop & Shop, Giant)

6. Harris Teeter

7. A&P (Food Emporium, Pathmark, Super Fresh, Waldbaum’s)

8. Delhaize (Bloom, Food Lion, Hannaford Bros., Sweetbay)

9. Walmart

10. Trader Joe’s

11. Price Chopper

12. Aldi

13. Kroger (Baker’s, City Market, Dillon’s, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, Ralph’s, Smith’s, Quality Food Center – QFC)

14. Costco

15. Supervalu (Acme, Albertson’s, Bristol Farms, Jewel-Osco, Save-A-Lot, Shaw’s)

16. Giant Eagle

17. Publix

18. Winn Dixie

19. Meijer

20. H.E. Butt (H.E.B., Central Market)

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