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Whole Foods Market squeaked into the "pass" column on a scorecard for seafood sustainability set by Greenpeace, earning the highest overall score, a 47.3 rating out of a possible 100, among seafood retailers. A 40 score is considered passing by Greenpeace.
Other food retailers that passed Greenpeace's standards were Ahold USA (45.6), Target supercenter (43.8), and Harris Teeter (40.3); while 16 other well-known grocers failed to make Greenpeace's cut, including Walmart, Safeway, Wegmans, A&P, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Delhaize, Supervalu, and Trader Joe's.
The Washington-based organization's second report rating retailers on the environmental responsibility of their seafood offerings cites Whole Foods Market's relatively new quality standards for aquaculture (farmed seafood) as one of the reasons for its score.
Whole Foods was apparently pleased to be so recognized. "We have done more than any other retailer when it comes to sourcing and promoting environmentally responsible, quality seafood, and we will continue to evaluate all species of seafood we sell to ensure we are doing our part to care for our planet and its tenants," noted Margaret Wittenberg, Whole Foods Market's global v.p. of quality standards and public affairs.
Greenpeace judged retailers by such criteria as their seafood sourcing policies, labeling and transparency, and the number of "red list," or threatened, species they offer for sale. Greenpeace did note improvement, such as Publix's rise to No. 13 in the current report, from the rock-bottom No. 20 position in last June's report. Trader Joe's, however, remained at No. 17 - the lowest ranking of the national supermarket operators surveyed, said Greenpeace.