YATE’S largest supermarket has been slammed by food campaigners for stocking one of the most ‘dirty’ brands of tuna on the market.
Greenpeace has confirmed it found Oriental and Pacific tins on the shelves at Tesco Extra, in Yate Shopping Centre, and on Tuesday the Gazette purchased a 185 gram tin of the budget tuna for 49 pence.
As part of the organisation’s work with Channel 4’s Fish Fight programme, presented by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, people from across the region took part in an investigation to find which supermarkets stocked the controversial brand.
Tesco, despite removing unsustainably sourced tuna from its stores after the first Fish Fight programme and campaign in 2011, was found to have started stocking Oriental and Pacific tuna, which is caught using fishing methods that can kill sharks, rays and turtles.
Ariana Densham, Greenpeace UK Oceans campaigner, said: “Tesco is at the bottom of the pile of supermarkets because as soon as they achieved their bold promise to use 100 per cent pole and line tuna in their own-brand tins, they immediately started refilling their shelves with ‘dirty’ tuna that is caught in a way that can kill turtles, sharks and rays.
“This is pure hypocrisy from Tesco - the supermarket that promised to be totally up front about where the food that they sell us comes from is now rolling back their pledge to protect the oceans.”
Oriental and Pacific tuna, which has no information on its tins about its catching processes, is caught in large nets using Fish Aggregation Devices.
The floating rafts attract not just the targeted tuna, but other ocean creatures such as sharks, rays and turtles, which are caught and killed along with the tuna when the nets are raised out of the water.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said: "The Fish Fight and Greenpeace tuna campaign has been a huge success - our supermarkets and big tuna brands all told us they didn't want their names on unsustainable tuna, but a number of them are finding new ways to keep 'dirty' tuna on the shelves.
“Tesco made one of the biggest commitments of all to sell the most sustainable tuna, but they now stock a new brand called Oriental and Pacific which is caught using methods that accidentally catch and kill endangered animals like turtles, rays and sharks.
"There's no information on Oriental and Pacific tins to tell shoppers how the tuna was caught. If they really care about our oceans then Tesco should take this tuna off the shelves today, and other supermarkets must follow suit."
Tesco spokesman said: “We moved much faster than many of our competitors to make sure our own-brand tuna is 100 per cent pole and line.
“We have also promised to use sustainable tuna in other products like pastas, sandwiches and salads.
“Many of our competitors continue to sell non-pole and line caught tuna.
“Customers have a great choice of sustainable tuna at Tesco.
“We will insist that Oriental and Pacific makes a similar commitment to other branded suppliers who are working towards a more sustainable fishing policy.”
Tesco was placed last in Greenpeace’s list of the best sourcing policies among supermarkets, with Sainsbury’s coming top.