Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fish Tales

Are you concerned about the food your family eats? Wondering where it comes from and who has touched it along the way? Well, Sobeys has a new program that is designed to give maximum transparency to the history of much of the wild caught fish they sell in store. The program is in partnership with Ecotrust Canada's ThisFish and is the first of its kind among Canadian grocery retailers. The Traceability program assigns a unique code to each fishing trip, and the fish are then tracked from the day they are caught until the time they reach a Sobeys store. You can look for the "Trace This Fish" logo on  fillets in their fresh seafood department and on packages of Sensations by Compliments wild fish fillets and portions.

So how does this work? I went to Sobeys today to check it out. First, look for this symbol on the packaging:

If you have a smart phone with a QR code reader app installed, you can check the source of your fish right there in store, before your buy.  Scan the QR code on the front of the packaging to be brought to Sobeys "Prepared with care" traceability page:

I realise the image is kind of small, but there is a text box next to the big blue circle (Trace This Fish logo) where you enter the code you will find on the back of the packaging:

This will bring you to a page on, which gives you the history of your fish. To see the full story behind the package of halibut I purchased, click here.

"Your Pacific Halibut was caught by Brent Shaw on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island and landed fresh in Ucluelet, BC on Aug 17, 2011 ."
Isn't that cool? The page also tells me how it was caught (bottom longline with hooks), who processed it (Pasco Seafood Enterprises), and gives me background information on all of these players and techniques.  There's even a picture of Brent Shaw! There's nutritional info, taste notes, and a recipe. You can even send a note to the fisherman if you like!

The fish is all certified sustainable seafood, as per the MSC logo you see on the packaging (above). But the information on the catch technique provides you with links to Eco-ratings and comments from not just the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), but also SeaChoice and Ocean Wise. There is a wealth of information for the concerned consumer.

Of course, even if you don't have a smart phone, you can still enter the code at the website once you get your purchase home. But the QR code does make it super easy to access the information even before you buy.

While I was at Sobey's I also checked out their fresh fish counter. Here as well they are working to provide extra information about the products on display. Each fish is labelled with information on country of origin, whether it is farmed or wild, and includes notes on taste, texture and best cooking techniques. Pretty helpful I think. (There wasn't any traceable fresh fish at this particular location today.)

These traceable codes can be found on the following Sensations by Compliments frozen fish products:
·         Sensations by Compliments Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets
·         Sensations by Compliments Wild Pacific Halibut Fillets
·         Sensations by Compliments Wild Albacore Tuna Portions
·         Sensations by Compliments Wild Black Cod Fillets

Would you like to try these and experience Trace This Fish for yourself? I am happy to say that Sobeys has provided me with a $30 gift card to award to one of my readers. Details are below.

Disclosure: I received a Sobeys giftcard to facilitate the research for this post. The opinions here are my own.

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