TARGET DISCONTINUES FARMED SALMON
MINNEAPOLIS — Citing environmental concerns, discount and supercenter chain Target last week announced that it will no longer sell farmed salmon at its stores, and will instead offer only wild-caught Alaskan salmon products. Environmental activism groups have become increasingly critical of open net-pen salmon farms, which they say release pollution, chemicals and parasites into the surrounding ocean, disrupting and sometimes decimating fish populations in the area. “Target strives to be a responsible steward of the environment, while also providing our guests with the highest-quality food choices,” Greg Duppler, senior vice president, merchandising for Target, said in a release. “Our guests now have an array of sustainable seafood choices at great prices.”
SAFEWAY SETS SEAFOOD STANDARDS
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway has announced plans to partner with marine conservation group FishWise to develop and implement a more comprehensive sustainable seafood policy. According to a release from the grocer, FishWise will deploy “a detailed sourcing assessment on behalf of Safeway … [and] prioritize suppliers and products for environmental improvement plans” during the coming years. Safeway will also implement a traceability system to screen out suppliers that do not conform to this new policy, and will discontinue sales of grouper, monkfish and red snapper due to overfishing concerns. “We hope this partnership will lead to a more sustainable product selection for our customers as well as improved transparency with our suppliers, and ultimately, healthy oceans and freshwater ecosystems for future generations,” said Jim Bluming, vice president of seafood marketing for Safeway.
SURVEY: PRODUCE CONSUMPTION FLAT
WASHINGTON — The percentage of consumers who reported eating five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables at least four days per week slipped from 56.4% in 2008 to 55.6% in 2009, according to Gallup's Healthways Well-Being Index. The most pronounced declines in consumption took place during the first five months of last year, according to an analysis of the data released last week by the polling organization. “The effect of the global recession, rapidly escalating unemployment and a weak labor market on the consumption of fruits and vegetables is unclear, but could be a substantive underlying factor in the clearly suppressed levels of fruit and vegetable consumption recorded in the first several months of 2009,” Gallup reported.
HAGEN NOMINATED FOR SAFETY POST
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has nominated Elisabeth Hagen for the post of USDA undersecretary for food safety, a position which has been vacant since December 2008. Hagen is currently the USDA's chief medical officer and was formerly a senior executive at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service division. “There is no more fundamental function of government than protecting consumers from harm, which is why food safety is one of USDA's top priorities,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in an announcement.
STEAK PREFERRED FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
DENVER — Sixty-one percent of Americans favor a nice meal with their significant other on Valentine's Day, as opposed to flowers or even gifts, according to a recent consumer survey conducted by marketing research firm Pelegrin Gray for The Beef Checkoff Program. And, 42% of respondents associated steak as a “best match” for a romantic dinner, topping chicken, pork and fish.