Where Have My Sardines Been?

They arrived after a 15,000 mile journey

 My “wild sardines” were “sustainably caught” along the California coast. After being captured, the “Delicious meaty portions [were] cleaned and scaled.” And they were tasty. But there is just one nagging detail squeezed into “mice type” between four other lines hidden away on a carton flap.

The sardines were Processed in Vietnam. They first traveled 6,000 miles from the California coast to Vietnam, then went 9,000 more miles from Vietnam to the shelf in the NJ supermarket where I bought them. Wow, 15,000 miles! Wild Planet Foods, Inc. says the Vietnamese have state-of-the-art scaling skills. That’s good, because the California sardine processors went out of business, perhaps another outsourcing casualty.

The cost of food miles covers the expenses—and perhaps adds a bit for profit—of getting food from its origins to our dinner plates. Does that add up to paying more for California coast sardines because of outsourcing? My sardines were expensive. Did they fly coach or first class?

Wild Planet is OK. Its website www.wildplanetfoods.com does an upfront and honest job of answering questions about catching and processing fish. Might even be a model of candor for the agri-business.

To My Readers: Many consumerist issues are hidden in the details of outsourcing and certification. You’ll be seeing additional posts from me on both matters. If posts like this are of particular interest to you, let me know.

The Consumerist Manifesto Handbook is available in hardcover from www.amazon.com for about $11. The Barnes & Noble website www.BN.com offers it as a hardcover or as a Nook e-book, each for around $11. Any B&N bookstore is happy to order a copy. The iTunes Store makes it available through your computer—just use the iTunes “Books” navigation button.




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