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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Bon Appétit Management Co., a foodservice company noted for its sustainable sourcing practices, said yesterday at the Boston Seafood Show that they have adopted new purchasing policies for farmed king salmon that meets strict health and environmental criteria. The policies were developed with New York-based Environmental Defense, an environmental advocacy organization.
In recent years researchers have found that some farmed salmon contain relatively high levels of PCBs and other contaminants, compared with wild salmon. Conservation organizations have also raised concerns about the industry's impact on wild salmon populations, use of drugs and other chemicals in raising salmon, and the release of untreated wastes from salmon farms into coastal waters.
Under the standards, suppliers will research and implement new technologies and management strategies, such as integrating the farming of salmon and mollusks to recycle fish wastes and reduce water pollution. The policies require suppliers to meet a minimum of five out of the eight purchasing standards right away, among them the health criteria, and establish a timeline with stringent deadlines for suppliers to comply with all of the standards. The policies additionally offer incentives for developing new technologies and strategies that further reduce, and may ultimately eliminate, concerns about adverse environmental effects of salmon farming.
"Wegmans is starting with king salmon, not usually available at all to our customers except during the wild salmon run," said Wegmans v.p. of seafood Carl Salamone in a statement. "We will eventually expand these standards to all our farmed seafood. We want to offer our customers seafood that meets the strongest health and environmental standards of any U.S. retailer at an affordable everyday price."
King salmon complying with the purchasing policies are now being rolled out in Wegmans stores, and the grocer will work with its other farm-raised fish suppliers to help them meet similar standards. Bon Appétit will continue to preferentially purchase wild salmon but, pending product testing, will over the next year give its chefs the choice of buying farmed king salmon that meet the new standards.
According to Bon Appétit Management c.e.o. Fedele Bauccio, "While our first preference will always be for wild fish, we are proud of our participation in the development of farmed salmon standards that will drive environmental progress in the aquaculture industry."
The purchasing policies are also supported by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its Seafood Watch program.
To view a copy of the purchasing policies go to http://www.environmentaldefense.org/go/newsalmonstandards.
In other Wegmans news, the company's 70th store, in Mt. Laurel, N.J., is scheduled to open March 19. ?The 140,000-square-foot store, which will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until midnight, will feature a Market Café that offers restaurant-quality prepared foods, including hot entrees, gourmet sandwiches, sushi, pizza, and subs. Customers can dine in at the mezzanine-level café, with seating for more than 200, or takeout.
As well as an extensive variety of fresh produce, the store will offer European and artisan breads and rolls baked in a wood-fired brick oven;?fresh seafood delivered daily; A meat department with ready-to-cook entrees to heat up or grill;?Nature's Marketplace, which carries organic and natural foods, supplements, and foods for special dietary needs;?International foods, including Asian, Indian, Caribbean, and Eastern Mediterranean cuisines; a cheese shop with more than 500 varieties of specialty and imported cheeses; a? Kosher deli with fresh Norwegian, Scottish, and Atlantic hand-sliced smoked salmon; ?and a full selection of Wegmans brand products.
Wegmans is a family-owned, 69-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland.