Target Hits the Mark with a Phase-out on Farmed Salmon!

From Food & Water Watch Blog

With an overload of sketchy news stories about corporations trying to control our food and water resources, pieces of good news on food safety can seem few and far between. But today, there is great news – the ever-popular Target has eliminated farmed salmon from its more than 1,700 stores across the United States. All sushi containing farmed salmon will be phased out by the end of this year. In its place, they'll be offering wild Alaskan salmon.

This decision to "go wild" will empower consumers to select healthier, more sustainable seafood – even when buying from a mega-store like Target. Salmon farming is among the worst of environmental offenders when it comes to food production. In a lot of ways, salmon farms can be considered equivalent to the filthy and jam-packed animal CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations): they often crowd too many fish into insufficient space – in this case, open net pens in the ocean or coastal waterways – resulting in massive water pollution; threats to wild fish and their habitat; and more.

A shocking study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund in 2000 found that Scotland's 350 marine salmon farms produced more waste that year – measured in terms of nitrogen and phosphorous – than that country's human population. Worse, all of it flowed, completely untreated, into waterways. In addition to contamination, there's an enormous risk of escaped salmon from farms, which can spread diseases and parasites to wild populations. These are just a few of the problems! For more about farmed salmon, check out this factsheet.

Some of you may be thinking: "I know about problems associated with most farmed salmon. This just sounds like another attempt at corporate greenwashing." We realize there is consistent news of big companies "going green" when really their new programs do little. But, actually removing farmed salmon from inventory is an important step. Its not a mere pledge to only sell fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Target is singling out (or should I say "targeting"?) farmed salmon – a repeat environmental offender – and completely nixing it from their seafood selection.

Let's hope that more companies are on the way to kicking farmed salmon out of their freezers soon as well!

–Marie Logan

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