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Feb 24, 2009 03:21 PM

How much Iodine taste is to much in seafood?

Had dinner at a well known reputable restaurant 2 weeks ago. The shrimp/scallop appetizer had an unpleasant iodine aftertaste and caused me to have a burning throat as if I had a raw throat. I dont have any allergies and this sensation rarely occurs. I have heard chefs talk about briny , minerally , sweet and iodiny flavors to good seafood. I get the first three but dont care for the last. What do other Chowhounders have to say?

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  1. sounds like something narsty was used to "preserve" the shrimp or scallops holding time. I'm not a huge seafood eater, but to me, if it tastes like iodine, it's NOT fresh. Had one exp. w/ the iodine shrimp thing years ago and I can still taste it in my mind. Voice of Ralphie from the Simpsons- "Tastes like burning...." ;) adam

    1. Might have been Gulf Brown shrimp that you had, which have that iodine taste. If they are frozen too late that taste intensifies.

      1. Seafood, and it doesn't matter how it's prepared, should never have any other taste/smell other than the ocean.
        I've been eating some sort of fish my entire life, at least 4 times a week, and if it smells or tastes like anything other than what it is supposed to taste like it's trashed.
        Iodine? No.

        1. Iodine naturally occurs in shrimp. The darker the brown, the more iodine. The browns off of the Texas coast generally have the most in them and they will tend to have an iodine flavor and even an iodine smell when cooking.

          8 Replies
          1. re: CadienBelle

            I was raised where most of the seafood I ate came fresh from Alaska....including the shrimp. You're right, though, the browner the shrimp the more iodine.
            The large pink shrimp from Alaska taste the like the sea.

            1. re: latindancer

              I was also raised on fresh seafood. There's nothing like it.

              I inspected seafood processing plants on the gulf coast for the gov't and I learned a lot about the iodine in the different shrimp. There are even plant owners who won't buy and process the the brown shrimp from Texas because of the iodine and because they say they are hard to sell. They usually try to find a market for them in the midwest.

              Those large pinks you're talking about are wonderful!

              1. re: CadienBelle

                I eat brown shrimp all the time from the Gulf- haven't ever noticed an iodine taste. I *have* noticed a taste like bleach now and then- they sometimes will pour in a little Clorox to keep them from smelling spoiled- yuck!

                1. re: Clarkafella

                  Nitric acid, sodium sulfite, and sodium hyposulfite are used to prevent the shell from blackening. This causes a bleaching effect, but no clorox should be used to keep them from smelling spoiled.

                  1. re: CadienBelle

                    Couldn't agree more- but that doesn't stop it from happening. These days we always buy our shrimp from one source- and *never* have a problem with it.

                    1. re: Clarkafella

                      I'm glad you've found a reputable dealer. So many people don't know how to buy shrimp. Especially people who don't live near where they are caught. I always tell people to look for shiny shells, no black at the joints and a fresh clean oceany scent. If the shells do have rough feel and are dull they have been treated and are usually old or they were treated with too much bisulfites when first caught to prevent spoilage.

                      1. re: CadienBelle

                        This isn't really a dealer- it is an Asian lady in Gulfport, MS whose husband has a boat. My in-laws have bought shrimp from her for many years and have never been burned. She will head them for an extra .25 per pound, and I have never in my life seen someone do that so fast- who knew that two hands and two thumbs could work so quickly!

                        1. re: Clarkafella

                          Aah... you must be getting your shrimp from a day boat. Very nice and always fresh. Also, no preservatives, as a general rule.

          2. So what is it about brown shrimp that = iodine? Naturally occuring? Age of the shrimp (before harvesting)? The warmer water? Just curious... adam

            1 Reply
            1. re: adamshoe

              Gulf Coast brown shrimp feed off of kelp which is rich in iodine. This is gives them their iodine taste. Most people who live on the gulf coast and who were raised on these shrimp never notice the iodine.

              Also the use of too much of the preservative, sodium bisulfite, can cause an iodine smell. The US strives to monitor the use of sodium bisulfite to only 100 ppm per edible parts of the product.