Customer Updates

About Trader Joe's Seafood

July 17, 2013

To Our Valued Customers:

In our continuing efforts to offer seafood options that fit customer needs ranging from food safety and taste, to concern over the environment, in 2010 we established the following goal: all of our seafood purchases will shift to sustainable sources by December 31, 2012.  This applies to all formats of seafood we offer: frozen, fresh, canned, etc.

It is our intent to have this goal function as a seafood policy that addresses customer concerns including the issues of over fishing, destructive catch or production methods, and the importance of marine reserves.

We aim to use our purchasing power to leverage change within the seafood supply community.

We support leaders within the industry who are making positive efforts to "get off the red list" (e.g. freshwater farmed salmon, closed-containment farmed shrimp).

In addition to the mandatory Country of Origin and Wild/Farm-Raised information currently provided on our seafood labels, we are still in the process of enhancing and updating our package labeling for all seafood items to include information on species' Latin names, origin and catch or production method.

Based on customer feedback and in support of our work to source sustainable seafood— we stopped selling Chilean Sea Bass in 2005, Orange Roughy in July of 2009, and Red Snapper in March of 2010, and Frozen Swordfish caught in Southeast Asia in 2012.

We have used reputable sources, like the Seafood Watch list, to help focus our product development. We’ve added new seafood items to our line of canned goods: in May of 2010, we introduced Wild Pink Shrimp from Oregon; in January of 2011, we started to offer Wild Cherrystone Clams from Maine; and in November of 2013, we introduced pole-and-line caught Canned Skipjack Tuna – a species that are inherently resistant to fishing pressures.  Similarly, we've done work to add new offerings to our frozen seafood selections. In April of 2011, we started to offer frozen Arctic Char. And in September of 2013, we introduced Frozen Barramundi Fillet.

In 2013, we also switched our sourcing methods for several products in order to help minimize the potential for bycatch. We switched our sourcing of Canned Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil from long-line catch methods to pole and line catch methods and we transitioned our canned Albacore Tuna items to sources using a circle-hook and nylon lead catch method.

With regard to aquaculture, we are in the process of developing a set of standards for our suppliers of Farmed Shrimp and Farmed Salmon to cover concerns ranging from environmental impact of the aquaculture to the use of antibiotics to safety and traceability from the farms to our stores.  And in keeping with our approach of not using GMO ingredients, we will not be offering genetically engineered salmon.

To support our efforts and our belief in proving our customers the opportunity to make educated decisions about what they purchase in our stores, we will be developing a comprehensive online guide to Trader Joe’s Seafood. This guide will provide details like fish species source and catch methods. In addition, it will incorporate helpful preparation tips and creative cooking ideas. Please stay tuned…