Blog: seafood

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Ask Mickey: Given news about radiation from the Japanese earthquake/tsunami leaking into the Pacific Ocean, how safe is it to eat seafood caught from the Pacific Ocean?

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As I and the other current and former Fellows learned on our recent field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium — whose Seafood Watch program has long been an important Bon Appétit partner organization — one thing that sets it apart is its mission to inspire the conservation of the oceans. And inspired we were by the end of the day.

In 2010 the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians came together to set up the Salmon Marketing Program. The program buys fish caught by tribal members on tribal land, pays the fishermen a sustainable living wage, processes the fish at a facility owned and operated by the community, and then distributes the products itself to ensure the integrity of the process. The program has expanded to new markets — and Bon Appétit is proud to be a customer.

Americans eat a lot of seafood. We rank third in global seafood consumption, behind China and Japan, and we spend billions of dollars every year on seafood. But for most Americans, the knowledge of what we’re eating ends with what’s printed on our menu. Most people have little idea about the complex route their fish has taken from the boat to their plate. Oceana recently released a report comparing the traceability systems in the beef and produce industries in the United States to the seafood industry. So how did they stack up?