Organic Seafood Labels Often Greener Than Eco-Labels

by | Dec 8, 2011

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Organic eco-labels for seafood are often better indicators of a product’s green credentials than industry eco-labels or those assigned by retailers such as Whole Foods or Marks & Spencer, according to research by Canada’s University of Victoria.

Four out of the five seafood eco-labels that ranked best in terms of absolute green performance in How Green is Your Eco-Label? were those that certified organic production rather than standard industry labels certifying environmentally friendly production.

As organic production generally results in less use and discharge of chemicals and usually has stronger restrictions on waste management than non-organic fish farming, such seafood benefits from a green knock-on effect that may not have been the principle aim, the report says.

The U.S. National Organic Standard is the greenest seafood eco-label of all, according to the report. The greenest non-organic specific industry label is Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, according to the report. It came in third overall.

Eco-labels issued by retailers themselves are not rated highly in the report. Of the 20 total eco-labels studied, the two issued by retailers were placed well into the bottom half of the absolute green ranking.

Whole Foods Market’s label was ranked 13th of 20, and U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer’s label came 19th.

The report concludes that Many eco-labels are not much better than conventional farmed seafood options when it comes to protecting the ocean environment.

In October, grocery store chain Kroger announced that it was on the way to meeting its goal of sourcing all of its fish from sustainable fisheries by 2015.

Kroger said that 65 percent of its top 20 wild-caught seafood species are now sourced from fisheries meeting its sustainability standards.

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