Trader Joe's Will Post Signs in Stores Nationwide to Advise Customers About Mercury in Seafood | Oceana

Trader Joe’s Will Post Signs in Stores Nationwide to Advise Customers About Mercury in Seafood

Press Release Date: October 1, 2009

Location: Washington, DC


Anna Baxter | email:
Anna Baxter

Washington, DC – Oceana announced today that Trader Joe’s, a California-based company will post the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advice on mercury in seafood in their stores across the country. This action will have far reaching health benefits for many consumers.

“Trader Joe’s is known for being a unique place to shop but now it can also be recognized as an industry leader,” said Jackie Savitz, Director for Oceana’s Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination. “Customers have a right to know what is in the food they buy and feed their families. Trader Joe’s decision today will help their customers make healthier choices and live healthier lives.”

The FDA issued an advisory in 2004 warning women of child-bearing age and children to avoid swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark due to the high mercury content of these fish. The FDA also advised them to limit albacore tuna and tuna steaks to no more than six ounces per week. The agency has determined that mercury contamination in these fish is high enough to threaten fetal development and children’s health. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of women already have enough mercury in their systems to cause harm to a developing fetus.

Over the past year, Oceana and its members contacted major U.S. supermarket chains asking them to voluntarily post the signs. Trader Joe’s joins Whole Foods (WFMI), Wild Oats (OATS), and Safeway (SWY) on Oceana’s “Green List” in recognition of their efforts. The “Green List” is a wallet card for shoppers listing the stores that post the signs and those that do not. Retailers like Wal-Mart (WMT), Supervalu (SVU) and Publix remain on the “Red List” as they have so far refused to inform customers about the Food and Drug Administration advice.

“This makes four major grocery retailers that have recognized signs in stores are a common sense solution to the mercury problem,” Savitz added. “They allow shoppers to avoid high mercury fish, while still getting the benefits of low mercury fish. We are hopeful that the other retailers will soon follow these leaders.”