Seafood counters used to be simpler places, where a fish was labeled with its name and price. Nowadays, it carries more information than a used-car listing. Where did it swim? Was it farm-raised? Was it ever frozen? How much harm was done to the ocean by fishing it?
Many retailers tout the environmental credentials of their seafood, but a growing number of scientists have begun to question whether these certification systems deliver on their promises. The labels give customers a false impression that purchasing certain products helps the ocean more than it really does, some researchers say.
Backers respond that they are helping transform many of the globe’s wild-caught fisheries, giving them a financial incentive to include environmental safeguards, while giving consumers a sense of what they can eat with a clear conscience.
To add to the confusion, there are a variety of certification labels and guides, prompting retailers to adopt a hybrid approach, relying on multiple seafood rating systems or establishing their own criteria and screening products that way.
As of Sunday, for example, Whole Foods stopped selling seafood listed as “red” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Ocean Institute — including octopus, gray sole and Atlantic halibut — because these species are overfished or caught in a way that harms ocean habitat or other species. The move has sparked criticism from New England fishermen, who are now barred from selling to the upscale chain. Whole Foods also sells only pole- or line-caught canned tuna, which harms fewer species than conventional tuna-fishing methods.
A number of people, this reporter included, got mighty excited last month when Whole Foods Market co-CEO Walter Robb mentioned in this USA Today story that the upscale grocery chain would increase the number of in-store bars at its 305 locations around the United States.
After opening bars in California, Arizona, Illinois and Texas, Robb specifically mentioned Hawaii as he discussed the company’s plans for further expansion.
Unfortunately, a few days after the original story appeared in USA Today and was mentioned here on the Pulse, a spokesperson for Whole Foods in Hawaii passed along the following message:
While it would be terrific if the Kahala store were to add an in-store bar (trust me, I’d be the first in line!) there are no plans at this time to open one in this store or the Kahului store.
Just goes to show you — sometimes the people who are supposed to know what’s going on are just as much in the dark as the rest of us.
“Grown on Maui” Agriculture Tour: Connecting People to Their Food
Guided tour meets at Whole Foods and begins with continental breakfast. First, tour Hali’imaile Pineapple Company, then enjoy a gourmet lunch at O’o Farm, followed by lavender chocolate gelato and a tour of Ali’I Kula Lavender Farm. Returns to Whole Foods at 3:00pm. Developed by Hawaii AgriTourism Association and Akina Aloha Tours. Destinations are subject to change, but will always feature locally-grown produce.
Phone: Akina Aloha Tours 808-879-2828
Store in Paia deserves loyalty
I remember the day Mana Food in Paia opened. It was a tiny, dark, two-room store of small size and few products. In fact, on many days afterward, the owner didn’t have money to stack many of the shelves.
Since then, the store has grown, spread out, diversified and prospered. It has also served the community with respect to wholesome, organic food at reasonable prices. It also brought people to Paia, which helped the other shops.
Since Whole Foods opened, traffic at Mana has slowed. Obviously, with the price of gas being what it is and the lack of parking in Paia, one would expect that people from the central valley and South Maui would change their habits and shop in Kahului. There is also something to be said for novelty. But there is more to be said for loyalty.
If you compare prices and if you search your conscience, I think you will agree: Mana is an old friend that deserves our support.
We’ve determined that Whole Foods Market (WFMI) was more relevant to the development of Hawaiian Agriculture do to their commitment to sell fresh local agricultural products rather then tracking an index so PowerShares DB Agriculture (DBA) has been replaced.
Continuing upon its commitment to providing customers with the highest-quality natural and organic products while supporting the local communities in which it works, Whole Foods Market Kahului will offer products from over 140 local producers, 60 of whom are based on Maui. The new Maui producers brought on to supply the Kahului store bring the total of local vendors whose products Whole Foods Market offers in Hawai’i to more than 205.
This is the sweetest, best tasting, Pineapple in the world.
Grown on Maui by Hali'imaile Pineapple Co.
Please buy this product!!!
PRIDE IN ISLAND!!!
"Whole Foods Market celebrates the great variety of local businesses and farms in Hawai`i that grow and make wonderful food, drink and body care products. We are delighted to continue to expand our selection of special local products for our shoppers’ enjoyment," said Claire Sullivan, Whole Foods Market’s vendor and community relations coordinator.
"Opening our first Maui store presents a particularly exciting opportunity to support and highlight Maui producers, especially those in the farming and ranching community who contribute to the unique beauty and agricultural character of this island." added Sullivan.