In 1998, Hy-Vee became one of the first retailers in the Midwest to hire our own U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys. The USDC inspector is stationed on-site at our Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI) distribution facility in Ankeny, Iowa, where he routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh seafood along with some frozen, ensuring that it meets Hy-Vee’s standards. Our purchasing and sustainability policy is the strictest around. Our seafood team at PDI is meticulous in its sourcing and accountability of our suppliers. A big part of our seafood programs success is partnering with suppliers that have the same beliefs as we do.
The USDC Inspection program is a voluntary seafood inspection service to assist in meeting U.S. regulations and generally accepted seafood production best practices governing fishery products for human consumption. This service supports seafood safety and includes sanitation inspection, system and process audits, grading and inspection and product laboratory analyses.
Bryan Sauve has been Hy-Vee’s full-time inspector since 2003. Bryan is on site five days a week to help is maintain high quality standards. In 2017, Sauve received the Silver Sherman award, which recognizes individuals who have performed work above his or her normal requirements, achieved a milestone that contributed significantly or critically toward the attainment of a particular program goal, and demonstrated leadership of significant magnitude.
It’s no secret that Hy-Vee prides itself in providing customers with healthy, responsibly sourced seafood. Since 2012, Hy-Vee has worked tirelessly to build a best in class Responsible Choice Seafood Program and continues to raise the bar with its expectations for transparent, socially responsible seafood supply chains.
Global seafood supply chains are complex and lack adequate transparency, which leads to uncertainty about the journey a fillet of fish takes from a fishing boat to the dinner table. Hy-Vee takes a proactive approach to confronting this uncertainty because, transparent supply chains offer businesses and customers greater assurance that seafood products are accurately labeled, come from legal sources, and are processed under fair labor conditions.
In 2017, Hy-Vee worked with FishWise, a sustainable seafood consultancy, to create a due diligence plan for improving social responsibility and traceability, and to counter illegal fishing practices within Hy-Vee’s seafood supply chains. The due diligence plan includes seven iterative steps aimed at increasing visibility into its seafood supply chains and reducing risks related to illegal and unethical fishing practices.
Each year Hy-Vee tackles new activities within its due diligence plan. Over the past twelve months, Hy-Vee has expanded its Seafood Procurement Policy, undertaken detailed engagement with suppliers to understand tuna supply chains, advocated for better tuna fisheries management and more.
Through its due diligence practices, Hy-Vee is contributing to more transparent seafood supply chains, greater accountability, and a healthier ocean for fish and people. Hy-Vee’s work provides an example of what dedicated businesses can accomplish when choosing to be proactive about assessing and mitigating supply chain risks.
The Seafood Nutrition Partnership Has provided this delicious scallops recipe to share with Hy-Vee customers. Herb-crusted scallops served with crispy baked leeks make an easy yet impressive dish to serve to friends.
Prince William Sound, located in the North Pacific Ocean, is like no other place in the world. Surrounded by spectacular glaciers and mountains, and shielded from the open ocean by barrier islands, this unspoiled sound on Alaska’s south-central coast is home to a vast variety of wildlife. Salmon thrive in these nutrient rich waters. To preserve the sound’s rich biodiversity, the fishery upholds the highest standards of quality and sustainability, treating each fish with the utmost care.
The fisherman are committed to preserving the rich, natural legacy of Prince William Sound, handling every fish with care and employing artisan-harvesting practices honed over generations. They are independent fishermen who set out on small one and two man boats to catch salmon using time tested gill-nets. Each salmon is handled minimally, delivered quickly, and inspected individually to guarantee excellence.
Prince William Sound Alaskan salmon’s rich flavor, dense texture, and vibrant color comes from the world’s richest waters that they thrive in. High in omega-3 fatty acids, wild Alaskan salmon is known for its incredible health benefits and delicious taste. Best of all, Prince William Sound Sockeye salmon are harvested sustainably and processed in small batches, so you know you are doing good while getting the best.
Your choice matters. When you purchase Prince William Sound sockeye salmon, you are making a good choice for your family and the planet. Sustainability is not a recent trend in Alaska. In 1956 the framers of the Alaska Constitution recognized the importance of protecting Alaska’s abundant natural resources. Article 8 of the Constitution states that “fish…be utilized, developed, and maintained on the sustained yield principle.” This dedication to sustainable management has resulted in an ever-replenishing supply of wild salmon for generations to come. This is why all Alaska Sockeye Salmon is proudly labeled with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice logo.
Nestled in the scenic Snake River Canyon of Buhl, Idaho, is one of largest state-of-the-art trout farms in the United States. Clear Springs Foods Rainbow Trout are raised in concrete raceways fed by natural flowing spring water. This fuels an optimal environment to deliver a consistent supply of a sustainable superfood.
Clear Springs Foods’ values and vision towards sustainability and the environment truly show in the quality of the trout they deliver each week. The company is employee-owned and the leading producer of quality rainbow trout. Hy-Vee is proud to be a longtime partner with Clear Springs Foods and to feature their rainbow trout in our fresh seafood cases. Due to their responsible farming practices and dedication to sustainability, we proudly label Clear Spring Trout with our Hy-Vee Responsible Choice brand.
Clear Springs Rainbow Trout is an excellent source of lean protein that contains both DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. One 4-ounce serving of rainbow trout will provide the recommended 250 mg per day of omega-3s.
Fair Trade CertifiedTM tuna, scallops, and salmon can all be found at Hy-Vee stores. To help explain what Fair Trade certification means, we asked Julie Kuchepatov, Seafood Program Director at Fair Trade USA, to share her thoughts on the importance of responsibly sourced seafood.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is all about taking care of people and our planet. When you purchase products with the Fair Trade Certified™ logo, you’re not only getting a high-quality product, you’re supporting a system in which farmers, workers, and fishermen are fairly compensated, fragile ecosystems are protected, and communities are empowered to build sustainable businesses. It’s a win-win.
There are two important mechanisms that bring Fair Trade to life. The first is the Fair Trade Standard. To earn certification, each fishery must meet a set of rigorous, independently audited criteria that work to protect fundamental human rights of fishermen, enable transparent supply chains and protect the environment. The second important thing to remember is the Community Development Premium. For every pound of certified seafood sold, fishermen earn an additional amount of money that is earmarked for critical community projects, as identified by the fishermen themselves. This allows fishing communities to invest in the causes that matter the most to them, like education and health care.
What products does Fair Trade USA certify?
Fair Trade USA certifies more than 30 different categories, from tea, coconut and spices to grain, sugar, produce and even apparel and home goods. You can now find Fair Trade Certified™ products in nearly every aisle of the grocery store.
Why does Fair Trade matter so much in seafood?
Recent investigations have exposed a number of environmental and social abuses in the seafood industry. Roughly 30% of the world’s fisheries are overfished, according to FAO. If unchecked, many varieties of seafood we’ve come to know and love may go extinct. Human trafficking and forced labor are also major issues in parts of the industry. An increasing number of reports show that individuals, particularly in Southeast Asia, are lured onto fishing vessels with promises of steady jobs and higher pay, only to find themselves working around the clock in dangerous conditions, often without pay. Some have even lost their lives.
Fair Trade USA’s Seafood Program is really the first of its kind to address both social and environmental challenges in the seafood sector. Standards for marine resources ensure that fisheries are managed legally and responsibly, preventing further overfishing. At the same time, social and human rights standards prohibit forced labor and empower fishermen with better working conditions, improved terms of trade, and additional income to invest in their businesses and communities.
Fair Trade Community Development Premiums can also help foster collaboration among previously isolated groups of fishermen. Premiums encourage fishermen to work together to identify and execute projects like improvements to health clinics or community centers. This cultivates a sense of community that in turn makes fishermen less vulnerable to exploitation by outside parties.
The Fair Trade seafood Hy-Vee buys comes from small villages in Indonesia and traditional fishing communities in the United States, specifically Alaska and the East Coast. Fishermen and community members have used Fair Trade Premiums for safety improvements at fishing docks, education scholarships, uniforms, and school supplies for local children, renovations to community centers, and environmental research projects that help protect the long-term health of the fishery.
What does Fair Trade aim to do in fishing communities?
The goal of the Fair Trade Seafood Program is to build more resilient livelihoods in fishing communities. It’s about improved working conditions and wages for fishermen, so they can better care for themselves and their families. It’s also about helping fishermen gain greater access to capital in the form of Community Development Premiums, as investments made with this extra income can improve community welfare.
Finally, Fair Trade focuses on environmental stewardship in fishing communities. Our NGO partners and field coordinators on the ground work with fishermen to improve their fishing practices and preserve marine ecosystems, ensuring that fishing remains a viable profession for generations to come.
What do you want shoppers to know when they see the Fair Trade Certified™ label?
Every dollar we spend is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. When you purchase Fair Trade Certified™ seafood, you’re voting for sustainable livelihoods, thriving fishing communities, and healthy marine populations. You’re voting for safe working conditions, equal rights for women, and prohibitions of both slavery and child labor. Most people want to make a positive difference in the world, and with Fair Trade it’s easy. Fair Trade Certified™ seafood empowers shoppers to turn the tides for fishermen, one purchase at a time.
Hy-Vee is featuring Rebel Salmon this week in stores. Rebel Fish believes that pairing the freshest fish with bold, flavorful and culinary-inspired seasoning rubs, customers will be inspired to try new flavors and enjoy fish in a new way.
Check out this mouth-watering recipe for Cilantro Lime Spiced Salmon Tostadas from Rebel Fish: