Whole Foods launches color-coded seafood rating system

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market announced that it has launched the first in-store color-coded sustainability-rating program for wild-caught seafood and commits to phasing out all red-rated species by Earth Day 2013.

The company worked with Blue Ocean and Monterey Bay Aquarium to develop an easy-to-follow system to help customers choose sustainable seafood. Species given green ratings are considered relatively abundant and caught in environmentally-friendly ways; those with yellow ratings are considered good alternatives, though some concerns exist with the species' status or catch methods; red or "avoid" means that for now, the species is suffering from overfishing, or that current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats.

"At the end of the day, it's a team effort. Our customers, buyers, fishermen, and fishery managers can all make smart decisions that move us in the direction of greater sustainability. The new color-coded rating system is a transparent way to provide sustainability status information. This new program, along with our promise to phase out red-rated species, deepens our commitment to having fully sustainable seafood departments,” said Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market seafood quality standards coordinator.