Wegman's Food Markets has announced a first-of-its-kind purchasing policy for farmed shrimp that includes "comprehensive and rigorous environmental standards" that will up the ante for the seafood industry and other U.S. retailers, according to a press release.
The family-owned 71-store supermarket chain, which has stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland, has partnered with the non-profit Environmental Defense to create new purchasing standards that require farmed-shrimp producers to eliminate the use of antibiotics and other chemicals, avoid damaging sensitive habitats, treat their waste water, and reduce the use of wild fish to feed shrimp. (Fun fact: Americans consume an average of 4.4 pounds per person per annum.)"Wegmans has always been committed to providing our customers with products that set a high standard for food quality, and we pride ourselves on thinking innovatively about how we purchase food in an environmentally responsible way," said Carl Salamone, Wegman's vice president of seafood. "In 2006 we introduced Farmed King Salmon raised under environmental standards developed by Environmental Defense. Today's announcement about Farmed Shrimp from Belize is an expansion of our efforts to offer seafood that meets the toughest health and environmental standards."
Suppliers, which will have to meet all 12 standards within a year, have to demonstrate compliance with these standards via an auditing and reporting system.
"Companies like Wegmans have the market clout to transform their supplier's environmental practices. With these new purchasing standards, we've raised the bar for farmed shrimp production while continuing to provide a safe and healthy seafood option for Wegmans' customers," said Gwen Ruta, director of corporate partnerships at Environmental Defense. "Now it's time for other large seafood buyers to flex their purchasing muscle and make the same improvements in their supply chains." ::Environmental Defense