H‑E‑B seafood policy

At H‑E‑B, our goal is to make smart seafood buying easy for all Texans. In partnership with Environmental Defense Fund – a leading, international conservation organization – we’ve updated our sustainable sourcing policy with the best interests of the environment, our fishermen partners, and our customers in mind. We are committed to creating an industry‑leading program for all of our fresh, frozen, prepared and shelf‑stable seafood, which continuously improves its social and environmental performance through regular monitoring and incorporation of new information.
Wild Seafood
Our promise of healthy and sustainable seafood starts with wild-caught products that meet the highest industry standards for environmental performance. As part of our commitment to protect our oceans, we pledge to meet or exceed the following standards when selecting wild-caught seafood for our stores:
  • In order to ensure you’re getting great seafood that preserves ocean ecosystems, we preferentially source from fisheries that are rated Green or Yellow on EDF’s Seafood Selector, or are certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council  (MSC).
  • Whenever feasible, we source from ‘catch share’ fisheries that comply with catch limits, reduce bycatch and promote scientific research ‑ providing H‑E‑B with high‑quality seafood year‑round.
  • H‑E‑B also sources from credible Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) that meet the criteria outlined by the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, and that publicly track time‑bound progress towards their sustainability goals on FisheryProgress.org. Suppliers must verify the origin of their FIP products and be in the ‘Implementation’ stage or higher.
  • As part of our commitment to local fishing communities, H‑E‑B will offer sustainable seafood from the Gulf of Mexico whenever possible.
Farmed Seafood
Aquaculture now accounts for more than half of all global seafood produced, and responsible sourcing is key to ensuring the industry continues to moves in a sustainable direction. Because of this, our standards for farmed seafood focus on verifiable levels of quality, safety, sustainability, and commitments to improvement:
  • We strive to ensure that fish farming is a net producer of healthy fish protein, with minimal impacts on surrounding ecosystems.
  • All of H‑E‑B’s imported aquaculture products are third‑party certified as sustainable by the Global Aquaculture Alliance,Aquaculture Stewardship Council, or organic as defined by the European Union.
    • We conduct additional surveillance of farmed seafood from Asia and require these products to achieve at least BAP 3-star certification to demonstrate their environmental and social performance.
  • We do not buy farmed fish that has been genetically modified.
Traceability means not only knowing where a product came from, but also how it was produced, by whom, and how it made its way to our stores. This is key to ensuring we provide you with the best products possible, in order to minimize any potential environmental concerns or social injustice. To meet these high standards, H‑E‑B has set the following standards:
  • We will never knowingly buy or sell any illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fish, which is the cause of many destructive fishing practices and human rights violations. We are committed to eliminating these issues through thoughtful purchasing and vigilant monitoring.
  • We will review and update our product sourcing grid at least twice a year to ensure all of our products are still meeting the high levels of traceability and quality we expect from our suppliers. When products fail to meet these requirements, we will discontinue them until the issue has been resolved.
  • We continue to work with Trace Register to provide third-party verification of our inventory through ongoing reviews and independent audits to flag non-compliant products and suppliers.
Social Responsibility
At H‑E‑B we are keenly aware of the environmental impacts inherent to fishing and fish farming, but also how the seafood industry intersects with issues of human rights and social responsibility. Our Business Partner Code of Conduct sets strict guidelines for suppliers across all departments, including Seafood, which focus on the following topics:
  • All labor is voluntary, with zero tolerance for child labor
  • Workers are guaranteed the following:
    • Fair wages
    • Safe working conditions
    • Equal and fair treatment, with structure for workers to communicate questions and concerns without fear of retaliation
    • Healthy work environment and living quarters
    • Transparency for workers’ rights and responsibilities
As part of our mission to combat recurring issues of human-rights abuses in the seafood industry, we will cease purchasing from any supplier found to be in violation of this zero-tolerance policy for a period of at least 12 months.
Canned Tuna
As one of the most popular seafoods in America, promoting environmental and ethical integrity within our canned tuna supply chains is of key importance:
  • Approximately 97% of our canned tuna comes from manufacturers belonging to either the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) or the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) – two organizations dedicated to the adoption and promotion of responsible tuna fishing practices around the world.
  • H‑E‑B‑branded (i.e. private label) tuna products adhere to stringent sustainability, traceability and social responsibility requirements:
    • Every can of tuna can be traced back to the vessel and location of capture.
    • Our suppliers only source from registered vessels and regularly monitor fishing vessel blacklists.
    • Furthermore, they conduct annual, independent social audits of their facilities to ensure compliance with our Business Partner Code of Conduct (as outlined in the ‘Social Responsibility’ section above).
  • Many of our canned tuna products – including 100% of H‑E‑B’s private label offerings ‑ are also MSC‑certified, green‑ or yellow‑rated, or engaged in a credible FIP (as defined in the ‘Wild Seafood’ section above).


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