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Apr 21, 2013 06:15 AM

Help! Need info on "Wild Caught Alaskan Pollack" imported from China

I cook for a healthcare facility and am unfortunately beholden to our purchaser. He keeps buying seafood from China, because it is cheap. I have been forced to cook the above mentioned, which has 50% shrinkage, because he pays only $1.50 per pound for it. This stuff scares the wits out of me. I have been surfing the internet, but cannot find anything specifically detailed about this product. I need to go to the director with solid evidence that were are serving something that we should not. Can someone direct me to a site where I can find irrefutable information? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I presume that whatever is being bought appears to be a legal sale in whatever your jurisdiction is. And, presumably, your procurement colleague also believes it to be wholesome and acquired from a legitimate supplier.

    In such circumstances, I think you need to be sure what complaint you think you may have. And then either raise it through your management chain and/or raise it with your jurisdiction's food safety authority (although be very cautious about doing this unless there is strong "whistle blowing" protection wherever you are.

    Perhaps the fact that the internet has failed to provide you with any specific information about this fish might suggest that there is no specific information to find.

    By the by, I love pollock and cook it often as a sustainable alternative to cod. Never had a problem with the shrinkage, though. Does the fact that your pollock shrinks suggest it's been injected with water? Have you drawn that to the attention of your procurement colleague, perhaps suggesting that it may not be the value for money product s/he thinks it is?

    1. The words 'fish from China' and 'healthcare facility' should never be used in the same sentence IMO. Chinese/Asian food producing standards basically are non-existent. Just because someone has produced a 'safety inspection certificate means nothing. The factory ship's owners hire the inspectors AKA 'family members' who give their stamp of approval. I could tell you horror stories about Asian 'factory ships' and what goes on in them but I will not. Just take some free advice. Never ever buy any frozen fish product from any Asian manufacturer. If someone tied you up and told you what really happens and what chemicals are used then forced you to eat the product you could sue them for attempted poisoning.
      I thought that this stuff is being served to the old and infirm is appalling but it's happening I know.
      No relative of mine will ever be subjected to the 'food'.

      1. Is there packaging you can photograph and share?
        Maybe with some Chinese on it?

        1. Pollack is the main fish used to make surimi, 'fake crab'. In Korea the dried form is commonly used to make a soup, sort of as alternative to salt cod.

          I can't comment on the China origin. The one Alaska fish that I have learned to avoid is arrowtooth flounder. Sometimes it is labeled as something else, flounder, sole, even halibut. Not sure about pollack. But regardless of the name, it turns into a mush when cooked (something about some enzymes).

          1. I would consult your company's attorneys