Following a year-long grassroots campaign by Women's Voices for the Earth (WVE) (Contact Erin Thompson, [email protected] ) and Oceana, Albertsons has agreed to post mercury in fish advisories on their fish cases nationwide. Citizens can expect to see signs in all Albertsons stores by November 30th.
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory informing citizens that certain types of seafood contained high levels of methylmercury, a chemical known to affect brain development in fetuses and infants. An EPA scientist estimates that hundreds of thousands of children born each year in the U.S. are at risk of neurological effects due to mercury, and fish are the primary source of mercury exposure. The FDA advised women of childbearing age and children not to eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish and to limit consumption of all other fish to 12 ounces (2 average meals) per week, including no more than 6 ounces per week (1 meal) of albacore tuna or tuna steaks.
Oceana has published a "Green List" of grocery chains that are posting this advice and fulfilling their customers' right to know. Companies not posting the advice are included in a "Red List." This week Oceana will release a report outlining the status of grocery stores posting warnings around the nation.
"With Albertsons now joining the Green List, many more women will have the mercury information right where they buy fish," said Erin Thompson, campaigns organizer for Women's Voices for the Earth, a Montana-based women's environmental health advocacy organization that, along with Oceana, convinced Albertsons to take this step. "We are incredibly pleased that Albertons is taking this step to help protect all consumers, but especially our nation's children."
"Albertsons is the latest company to realize the best way to end any confusion is simply to post signs for their customers," said Jackie Savitz, Director of Oceana's Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination. "They join Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Wild Oats, and we hope this trend will pick up momentum with other companies - ultimately all shoppers deserve access to this information."
Earlier this year, Albertsons merged with SuperValu, a Minnesota-based grocery chain. SuperValu has verbally committed to posting the new information at their stores nationwide but has yet to confirm a start date.
Women's Voices for the Earth is a national, women-centered environmental health advocacy organization that is concerned about the potential harms of unnecessary mercury exposure in women and children. http://www.womenandenvironment.org/
Oceana is an international organization dedicated to protecting the world's oceans. Our teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. www.Oceana.org/mercury
Photos available upon request or at http://www.womenandenvironment.org/newsreports/For%20Reporters/
Green List available at www.Oceana.org/greenlist
SuperValu/Albertsons Contact: Haley Meyer, (952) 828.4786
Erin Thompson, WVE, (406) 396-6324
Jackie Savitz, Oceana, (202) 833-3900