Sustainable Seafood: Which Retailers Topped The List? (INFOGRAPHIC)

 

Finding sustainable seafood has long been a challenge for environmentalists and foodies alike. Recently, however, supermarkets and food stores have stepped up their efforts to reconcile that dilemma.

Greenpeace has released the results of its annual Carting Away the Oceans report, which evaluates retailers on the sustainability of their seafood.

Greenpeace has conducted the study in each of the last five years, and no retailer had ever achieved a “green” rating. Until now.

This year, Whole Foods and Safeway topped the list, with a “green” score of 7.1 and 7.0 out of 10, respectively, followed by Wegmans, Harris Teeter, and Target.

The stores were graded on a number of factors, including the sale of overfished species such as Chilean sea bass, hoki, orange roughy, and shark. The retailers were also scored based on the degree to which their fishing methods were destructive to habitat and the environment, as well as on their conservation initiatives, transparency and internal policies.

Although some supermarkets received the incriminating “fail” rating, the good news is that the overall performance of the industry has improved significantly, the report shows.

Despite this progress, problems persist. For instance, it is becoming increasingly difficult to trace fish back to their origin, making it hard to say for sure whether or not it is sustainable. According to the report, fraud and other illegal activity are also prevalent in the global seafood market – even in the U.S. According to Greenpeace, pirate vessels capture as much as 20% of the seafood caught globally.

To make matters worse, a dismal 2% of imported seafood is inspected for safety at international borders, posing concerns not only for sustainability, but also human health.

Is your seafood sustainable? Check out this infographic for a snapshot of retailers’ seafood practices:

Image credit: Greenpeace

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Whopper Nation: Americans’ Eating Habits Grow Even Worse

If you thought Americans’ eating habits couldn’t possibly get any worse, think again. In a recent Gallup poll, Americans reported a drop in healthy eating this year over last year, with fruit and vegetable consumption down across all demographics.

When asked if they “ate healthy all day yesterday,” 66.2% of respondents answered “yes,” compared to 68.2% last year. Likewise, 61.3% of women and a meager 50.1% of men reported eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four times a week in 2011, compared to 63.5% and 51.7% in 2010, respectively.

Of course, the poll does not acknowledge that “healthy” is a highly subjective term. Are potatoes “healthy”? What about granola? Fruit juice? Pasta? The list goes on and on.

Even worse, Americans’ unhealthy habits extended beyond diet, with increases in smoking and decreases in exercise reported over last year’s numbers.

So what’s causing the bad trend? The easiest – and perhaps erroneous – assumption would be to link unhealthy habits with the faltering economy: People are working more to make up for their debt, and they’re earning less money, eating cheaper food and smoking to kill stress – leaving them less time to exercise.

Gallup throws the blame on high gas prices, which have led to more expensive food and less consumer money to pay for it. But maybe it’s not that easy. Have Americans become complacent? Are we failing to see the connection between poor health and disease? Are we funding the healthcare, insurance and drug companies with our “the doctor will fix it” attitude?

What about false advertising, greenwashing and pseudo-healthy food products? How will all of this factor into Americans’ lifestyle and well-being?

These numbers may only represent a blip on the radar. However, Americans’ health – as well as its correlation with the state of the economy – will be an important trend to watch in the months and years ahead.