After much ballyhooed discussion, fellow food site Chow.com took a look at Greenpeace’s recently released anti-Trader Joe’s website, Traitor Joe’s. The mock website accuses the alterna-market of selling endangered fish species, including orange roughy and Chilean sea bass. In fact, Greenpeace alleges that Trader Joe’s actually offers ’15 of the 22 red list seafoods’. Though the site is flashy, there doesn’t seem to be much cold, hard evidence to prove their claims, unfortunately. Trader Joe’s Executive VP of Marketing, Jon Basalone, says that the statements are completely false, though he doesn’t offer any alternative information to combat Greenpeace allegations.
“The Greenpeace report details that Trader Joe’s sells a certain number of items on their ‘Red List.’ But several of the items that they call out are NOT for sale in our stores. We do NOT sell Chilean Sea Bass, Monkfish, Ocean Quahog or Redfish in any of our stores.”
I’m a bit dismayed by Chow’s final notes on the subject, suggesting that stores stock unsustainable seafood because consumers are buying it. I believe most consumers are unaware of their sustainable seafood choices, and purchase what’s available, therefore making it the distributor’s responsibility (in this case, Trader Joe’s).
Of course, the only way to be sure of your selection is to become aware of the seafood you’re buying by reading labels and inquiring at your neighborhood supermarket as to what you’re purchasing and how it’s been caught and processed. Check out our link to the Natural Resources Defense Council Sustainable Seafood guide to make sure you’re buying sustainable seafood. You can also review the Greenpeace scorecard for other supermarket retailers at the Sustainable Fishery website.