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Costco Frozen Shrimp (Bagged) from Vietnam

In the freezer section, Costco sells bags of frozen shrimp, cooked, uncooked, various sizes - all at good prices. I've tried them and find them very tasty.

My concern is that I've read a lot of very scary stuff about farmed fish in Vietnam and now I'm wondering if I should be concerned about the shrimp that Costco carries.

This is what I've read about farmed fish in Vietnam: http://www.dietmindspirit.org/2008/01...

Any thoughts? Thanks!

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  1. i too used to buy those bags of frozen shrimp from costco. i don't anymore. because of the conditions i've read about (similar to what's described in your link) and because i've recently been able to source wild caught gulf shrimp from my local sprouts, and frozen wild caught shrimp (argentine and mexican) from trader joe's. i really prefer the wild caught, and like to support our beleagured gulf fishermen when possible. those guys can't catch a break sometimes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chez cherie

      Thanks chez cherie. I'm in total agreement about 'wild' versus 'farmed' as well as supporting gulf fisheries. That's something to seriously consider.

      1. re: chez cherie

        Those wild shrimp from the gulf at TJ's have taken a very nasty turn, according to another thread on CH. I have a bag I'm going to return unopened and stick to wild caught shrimp from Whole Foods.

      2. A decidedly less than objective activist piece from 2008 about Vietnamese basa farming practices SHOULD form the basis for ALL your consumer decisions in 2013.

        Here's Costco's (probably less than objective) view:

        http://www.costcoconnection.com/conne...

        4 Replies
        1. re: ferret

          Yes, Ferret, the link I posted is from 2008. I posted my question to get informed opinions from fellow CH's as to whether or not such conditions exist with regard to the farmed Vietnam shrimp at Costco. I think it's obvious that I'm not ssting it SHOULD form the basis for ALL our consumer decisions in 2013.

          And as a Costco member, I've seen the 'sustainability' article in Costco Connection in the link you posted.

          So, other than making sure that we're all aware of your sarcastic nature, do you have anything helpful to add?

          1. re: prio girl

            So I take it that you didn't bother reading the Costco link about the cleanliness and suitability of their farmed seafood products (including shrimp)? The article goes beyond sustainability, see the sections on "Shrimp Aquaculture" and "Identifying Reliable Processors."

          2. re: ferret

            "the shrimp standards are expected to be handed over to the ASC during the first half of 2013."
            this is the only reference i see in the article about costco's farm-raised shrimp, and it tells me nothing. if that's the best face costco can put on their farmed shrimp, that tells me something.

            1. re: chez cherie

              No. It says they're seeking ASC certification of already-established practices which were developed with WWF:

              http://www.seafoodbusiness.com/articl...

          3. I doubt Costco would sell product that is inferior. In fact the Costco article states quite the opposite. You state you've 'read a lot' What other unbiased articles, any earlier than '08?? Also, what is your intent about this topic?

            6 Replies
            1. re: treb

              Treb you ask what is my "intent about this topic?"
              My intent is clearly stated. I am seeking more information.
              Why the hostility?

              You also ask what have I read in addition to the article above.
              Well to start with:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/730231

              As well as this:
              http://www.rodale.com/farmed-shrimp

              and this:
              http://abcnews.go.com/Health/antibiot...

              1. re: prio girl

                You asked a very specific question about Costco's Vietnam-sourced shrimp. You reference a number of alarmist articles (including the first one which was plainly written by an idiot) that have little bearing on your original question but avoid responses that are directly on-point. Eat what you want, it's of no consequence to the rest of us but if you really want to get a reasonable response to your original topic then stop being so combative.

                Here's some science-based reading:

                http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                1. re: prio girl

                  Not being hostile, just curious if you're reading biased opinionated trash or FDA and other scientific facts. Are you sure TJ's or WF or Wegman's doesn't carry that sourced Shrimp? If you're able to get fresh wild, go for it else, like most of us, it's most likely farmed.

                  1. re: treb

                    No, I'm not sure at all. I mentioned Costco specifically because those are the shrimp I usually buy and I just want to make sure that I'm not overlooking anything with regard to these specific farmed in Vietnam shrimp. We all like to make good healthy food choices don't we?

                    1. re: prio girl

                      Good to research, good to make healthy choices, good that we have the ability to choose what we buy and eat. I'd recommend that you email Costco with your question, it's a good one to ask. However, knowing Costco's standards, I think you'll be comforted about their view on such matters.

                      1. re: treb

                        Thanks Treb and I apologize for reading 'hostility' into your original response.

              2. I have just become a member of Costco because of these shrimp. They are the best shrimp I've found. Made gumbo at my brothers house and he supplied the shrimp. Thawed them out, shelled them and was impressed with the integrity of the meat. Often when I've bought shrimp at grocery stores, even Whole Foods, the shrimp meat is soft and easily tears. Not so with these. And the taste was clean and shrimpy. Not the off taste I've noticed in most other shrimp you can buy these days.

                Seafood Watch rates these very highly and gives them a best choice rating.

                http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...

                I plan to eat and enjoy.

                jb

                1. Remember that article is an opinion article, Try to find research with a .gov.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: treb

                    .gov has not proteced our food or drug supply at all well. I'd rather cast a wider net for information and leave that for last.

                    1. re: mcf

                      I'd prefer wild caught for most seafood but, they're, shrimp, not readily available in most areas. In general, I think Costco does a good job of stocking wild caught seafood.

                      1. re: treb

                        What other fish are reliably wild at Costco? Is the flounder? Maybe cod?

                        1. re: mcf

                          I think it depends on the area of the country you live in but, I've consistently found wild caught salmon (varied species), halibut and ahi tuna. Don't remember on the flounder, cod and haddock but, I assume it's wild caught also. I'll check next time out.

                          1. re: treb

                            The only wild salmon at my Costco is the one I hate, sockeye, including being the only wild smoked one. I'm not sure my store has halibut, will check. I used to by Chilean sea bass, have to check if it's now from an approved locale, love it baked putanesca style. I have only seen breaded haddock at mine, or I'd buy it.

                            1. re: mcf

                              I stay away from most prepared foods so, I wouldn't be looking for the breaded stuff. I've done halibut putanesca on the stove top, great flavor. I usually see halibut later in the week, Thurs Fri and Sat.

                              1. re: treb

                                I don't buy prepared stuff, either. Once in a while I used to buy Phillips crab cakes because they're mostly crab, but not for the past few years. I just notice stuff as I pass by.

                                I do the sauce on the stove, then bake the sea bass in it for about 30 min. The house smells so good from it, in a lusty sort of way. :-)

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Was at Costco today, they had wild caught dover sole. I also asked a person behind the meat counter if cod, flounder and haddock were wild caught, yes. Hope this helps.

                                  1. re: treb

                                    Thankjs for reporting back!

                  2. I will not buy shrimp from Costco because they are imported from Vietnam. Why can't they buy shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico?

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: Jackbanker

                      There's a reason they're called COSTco. They do go to lengths to make sure they are purchasing wholesome and sustainable seafood, though. They're the only seller I'll buy Asian farmed shrimp from.

                      1. re: Jackbanker

                        Just came from my Costco, the frozen shrimp I saw are wild caught, U15 size, origin Mexico (gulf of?) not from Vietnam.

                        1. re: treb

                          MIne are 21-25 count from Vietnam. Melville or Commack NY.

                          Where is your Costco?

                          1. re: mcf

                            My Costco is in Montgomery, Alabama and the Gulf of Mexico is 170 miles away. Fresh shrimp from the Gulf is absolutely delicious.

                            1. re: Jackbanker

                              I've noticed that Costcos do vary their food merchandise by locale. In AZ, we get mostly west coast type wild-caught seafood. I don't think I've ever seen Gulf shrimp or anything that comes from the east coast, except for the farmed salmon, but I may not have looked closely enough.

                              1. re: EWSflash

                                We have a Costco opening around the block (New York)in a week or two. One thing I was excited about was the shrimp, since a friend who lives about an hour away always brings shrimp cocktail to family parties and it's the best! This is a family tradition going back many years. I will look carefully before I buy it now, and see what it says on the label.

                                1. re: coll

                                  I buy it only after confirming that Costco applies a lot of diliegence to the quality of the fish farms and their sustainability before buying.

                                  I still prefer Gulf shrimp, though.

                                  Had the most wretched shrimp in store made shrimp salad from Wild by Nature the other day. Disgusting, mealy texture with no flavor. Suspect farmed black tiger and not the freshest.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    I try to buy only Gulf shrimp, which isn't hard since we hit Traders Joes every month or two. I think I would be afraid to buy premade shrimp anything, although lobster I tend to let it slide ;-)

                                    There are a lot of tiny (150-200 and 300-400) precooked shrimp out there, at a great price, so I would tend to go by price of the finished product in general. If it looks to good to be true, it probably isn't!

                                    1. re: coll

                                      This was chunks of larger shrimp, I've bought it occasionally over the years and as with many of their store made stuff, this has taken a very serious nose dive. Blecch.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I buy the shrimp packaged whole, they really are tiny shrimp, good for sandwiches and salads. I can't remember the last time I bought lobster or shrimp salad premade, I worked in the business too long and know better ;-) Some menu items are obvious dumping grounds for leftovers.

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Yeah, I know.... but once in a while, it was a good grab for a take with low carb lunch. The shrimp they use is not the tiny stuff, at least never in the years I bought it, I think you're right that it's stuff from the fish dept they need to pass along. It's big chunks of shrimp, fresh dill, etc. NEVER again.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            The tiny shrimp are so cheap, compared to the usual. If you see some, grab it for future consideration. They are tender and flavorful.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              I've had them in the past. Do you mean Costco, TJ's or WBN?

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                I used to get them from a wholesale vendor, not sure they sell them at the big box stores as customers might not be familiar with them? But most suppliers have cash and carry.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Ok, thanks!

                      2. http://www.theguardian.com/global-dev...

                        1. Ive been to those shrimp farms in Vietnam.
                          I would never buy or eat them. Disgusting.

                          58 Replies
                          1. re: AdamD

                            Interesting how Costco farmed shrimp is so dangerous but gulf shrimp safe? Too many people I know who used to fish in the gulf won't ever eat any seafood from there since the spill and dumping of toxic chemicals, shrimp and fish are deformed, testing is a joke, I'd rather eat farmed anything then gulf anything.

                            1. re: janie

                              I never said it was dangerous, just that I would not buy or eat them. I don't like the taste or the texture.

                              Those shrimp are fed lots of nasty things and they are raised in giant toilet bowls. Maybe there are some farms that are better than others but I visited three different ones and they were pretty much the same. Nasty.

                              1. re: AdamD

                                I think unless you visited ones that are being policed by a purchaser they're dependent upon, they'll all be disgusting.

                                1. re: AdamD

                                  Costco has very high standards expectations for it's vendors. If it's not good it's not getting into their stores.

                                  1. re: treb

                                    For me its just the way they are farmed and the product that is ultimately sold-limp soggy shrimp that tastes funny.

                                    1. re: AdamD

                                      Costco's aren't limp or soggy, though. Not the uncooked ones, anyway.

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        To me they are. To be fair I haven't had them in a few years but I found them to be pale and mushy with a very strange taste and texture. Nothing at all like the shrimp I get from my fish monger.

                                        1. re: AdamD

                                          You're talking about the raw ones? You may not be buying the same variety I am, usually the 21-25 count in a blue bag.

                                          Sounds like a refrigeratino problem otherwise.

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          Agree, the raw shrimp that I've purchased at Costco are not soggy at all.

                                      2. re: treb

                                        Costco is all about profit. Seafood from other countries is cheaper. Instead of supporting the American Fishing Industry they would rather support the industry of another country.

                                        1. re: Jackbanker

                                          Costco is also all about quality and incredible generous customer service and employment policies.

                                          They're the anti Walmart.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            Yes, I agree with you but they don't need to be buying shrimp from Viet Nam.

                                            1. re: Jackbanker

                                              They monitor the conditions, for the shrimp at least. Workers, not so successful at keeping their conditions positive. They also sell dry scallops, no bloating them up with fluid for profit, as a policy.

                                          2. re: Jackbanker

                                            Costco carries a lot of wild caught species. Certain species are American west coast such as halibut, sole, ahi, salmon etc also American brook trout. Others origins are clearly marked like scallop's, raw shrimp, lobster tails, crab legs.

                                          3. re: treb

                                            Treb, the farm raised Vannamei shrimp Costco gets are the same ones the other major retailers get from the same wholesalers. They are all pumped "wet", have a waterlogged texture and have very little shrimp flavor.

                                            1. re: Tom34

                                              "The most notable certification schemes are the Best Aquaculture Practices, the GlobalGAP Integrated
                                              Farm Assurance Standards, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council Shrimp Standards. The structures
                                              of all three major schemes largely meet the standards recommended by the United Nations Food and
                                              Agriculture Organization, but the strength of **** labor standards**** within these structures varies significantly."

                                              https://www.motherjones.com/files/acc...

                                              I'd really like to know if I'm eating solution bloated shrimp from Costco; please furnish the evidence for that assertion so I'll know for sure. It'd be inconsistent with Costco's stated policies wrt scallops, for instance.

                                              Thanks in advance.

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                Read the bag.....if treated with Phosphate preservatives they are "wet" / "pumped". Same with scallops. Snow white appearance is also a give away.

                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                  Please tell me what brand/type you have found in Costco with that on the bag. It's not in the scallops currently in my freezer, the only ingredient ever listed in the years I've been buying them is "scallops."

                                                  I've seen only "shrimp, salt" on the shrimp bags but don't have one this minute.

                                                  On what evidence do you base your assertion that Costco is selling phosphate bloated shrimp and scallops despite their big announcement they were not and would not, for quality and value reasons?

                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                    I looked at the bags of shrimp and scallops today, nothing that you state is noted on the bag. Agree with mcf below.

                                                    1. re: treb

                                                      I'm sure Tom will post any time now where he found the information that Costco scallops and shrimp are wet and soggy due to phosphate solution.

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        Why don't you let somebody respond for themselves

                                                      2. re: treb

                                                        Treb,

                                                        I will be honest with you , I have not been to Costco in some time. My past experience with Costco, Sam's, BJ's, Restaurant Depot, Shoprite & Acme is that the Asian farm raised IQF shrimp that normally come in 2 lb bags (5 to a case) have been soaked in a preservative that makes them retain water. Same for IQF scallops.

                                                        Tell tell signs for both are longer cooking times & significant shrinkage during cooking. Pumped shrimp are also less firm after cooking & many would say have very little shrimp flavor. Pumped scallops also do not caramelize well as they tend to steam.

                                                        Scallops are easy to tell when raw .....snow while color means they have been soaked and the trade term is "wet". Light toffee color means they have not been soaked and the trade term is "dry". For most dishes "Dry" are preferred and usually cost 20% (+) more.

                                                        Maybe Costco is now carrying a line of dry scallops & non soaked shrimp, I don't know but historically 95% of Asian Farm raised were soaked. The only high quality farm raised brand I have seen that the major purveyors carried was Ocean Garden which was a Mexican product and highly respected by top Chefs.

                                                        I quickly looked at the Costco quality claims other hounds attached to this thread and I didn't see any reference to wet / dry, soaked / non-soaked but I could have missed it. If I was the PR guy for Costco I would have hammered "Dry" , "Non soaked" if that was the case.

                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                          If they are pumped, they have to say sodium tripoly phosphate on the label, so it's very easy to know before buying.

                                                          1. re: coll

                                                            That makes sense Coll. Hopefully they have turned the corner because years back most of the Asian IQF shrimp I saw were pumped.

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              I always sought out the pure shrimp, believe it or not Restaurant Depot used to be a reliable source. Pretty sure it was gulf though. I get my shrimp at Trader Joe now, it's wild and pure. So far!

                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                The Philadelphia Restaurant Depot store still has wild caught but they are #2 quality. They used to have Ocean Garden farmed but dropped them for Indonesian farmed.

                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                  The Ocean Garden is what I remember. Don't get to the Depot much anymore so I make do with the small bags of Trader Joe, if not for that I don't think I'd eat much shrimp. Too much trouble to find the good stuff!

                                                                  The main reason I'm checking out the new Costco this weekend is because friends of ours bring Shrimp Cocktail to every party, they're famous for it; it is so good that I asked where they get it. I figured one of the better fish stores in the area. But no, Costco! Don't know it's pedigree since I've only had it on a platter, but it's got to be pristine judging by taste and texture.

                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                    Word has it that Lobster prices are really down. Shoprite has whole cold water "small" lobsters for $5.99 lb. Usually in August Restaurant Depot has them about $1.00 lb cheaper than the supermarkets which would be $4.99.

                                                                    Also in the past few years, in August , R.D. has had Harbor Seafood's Oyster Bay brand 4oz COLD water tails for between $14.99 - $15.99 lb, 10 lb case. I wrap each tail in butcher paper to cover the sharp edges, slide them in a pint vacuum seal bag, suck out the air and seal them up. They last over a year in the freezer that way. After the steak comes off the fire to rest, a few tails go on and its a wonderful night.

                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                      To me, "really down" would be $2.99 (or maybe even free, like the old days if you knew a fisheman? Can you tell I'm spoiled? Sadly, I'm clinging to my memories of overabundance in this area ;-) Those little pups are hardly worth boiling this time of year anyway, I bet a 1.5 lber would yield a half lb meat if you're lucky? At least you can make stock out of the shells! I've taken to buying the meat preshucked, at least you know your yield beforehand.

                                                                      I still question the tails....aren't they rock lobster? The sharp edges description sounds like a clue. I've never seen Maine lobster parts sold separately around here, except for culled claws; when a supermarket had them advertised as Atlantic lobster, the fish guy admitted it was from very far down south Atlantic waters. Like the Caribbean, maybe.

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        $2.99 would be nice but I don't think it would even cover costs with the price of diesel. I agree the little 1.5 lb lobsters don't have a lot of meat. They are good though for a lobster boil party where everyone pitches in say $25.00 for lobsters and beer and you cover a picnic table with newspaper and have at it.

                                                                        The Rock Lobsters are primarily warm water. These "Oyster Bay" brand are cold water tails from Maine & Canada. Harbor Seafood (NY) has a site where you can check them out.

                                                                        The shells really aren't sharp, but like meat bones the edges can puncture a vacuum seal bag when the air is drawn out and pulled really tight which is why I pre-wrap w/butcher paper.

                                                                        Its a real nice convenience thing having them along with the steak in the designated freezer.

                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                          Out here, the Maine lobster (at least they used to ) come from down the road if you were out near Montauk, so no transportation costs. The fishermen would drop them off on their way to the bar! Or trade them for a drink or something, whatever ;-)

                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                            The closest I can come to that is when I go fishing with a friend who is a dive master & pulls them out of holes on wrecks but that's off the warmer Jersey coast, not Maine. I am heading down the shore next week......hoping the Flounder fishing starts picking up.

                                                              2. re: Tom34

                                                                At Costco??? When, where?

                                                            2. re: Tom34

                                                              So you had no idea what was in Costco shrimp before making a damning statement about it. I have no recollection of every seeing phosphates on a labeled bag of scallops or shrimp from Costco, but hey, I've only been shopping there for 1-12 years, consistently.

                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                Just checked while at Costco, Frozen Shrimp ingredient list states shrimp, salt. That's it! I think it may be best if you invest time by going to Costco and verifying what they sell before bloviating about what isn't.

                                                                1. re: treb

                                                                  Ha, I did the same about an hour ago. Shrimp and salt. All I know right now (since I didn't join yet) is my friend's shrimp cocktail offering is one of the best I've ever had. And I've had my share!

                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                    The bag said shrimp & "SALT". They are flash frozen shortly after processing so salt isn't necessary for preservative purposes.

                                                                    SOOOOOO, why would they add it? HMMMMMMMM, what are the 2 key ingredients in most brine's, AHHHHHH, water and "salt".

                                                                    What do salt water brine's do to proteins, OOOOOOH, thats right, they cause swelling increasing the perceived size of the protein & AHHHHHH, they cause the protein to absorb water, up to about 8%.

                                                                    SOOOOOOO, the prince of Costco's seafood division can stand on a podium and roll out the propaganda smoke screen proudly proclaiming that their prime shell fish contain no Phosphates. And he is absolutely correct.

                                                                    But my Dear Treb, they sat in a salt brine which means they are are most certainly PUMPED, just not with phosphates.

                                                                    Quality seafood stands on its own Treb. It doesn't need to be pumped. High quality wild shrimp are not soaked in a brine/pumped. Neither are high quality farm raised such as Ocean Garden brand products. But then again, Costco would have to pay more for these high quality products than they are charging you for their current Asian shell fish line.

                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                      A brine consists of H2O, there is no mention of H2O on the label. AHHHHHHHHHH......SOOOOOOO who says salt isn't necessary to keep the product fresh, got some facts to back up your 'pumped' claim. I haven't seen you post a reference to that yet. Also, I'd like to see you come up with facts regarding Costco's product quality. Curious, what's your beef with Costco, can't stand a company that offers great product and pricing and that is also a great place to work. Your volley!

                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                        I'm pretty sure water doesn't have to listed as an ingredient? I can't remember ever seeing a label mentioning it.

                                                                        OK guess it's sort of ambiguous, like if it's absorbed?:
                                                                        "Should water be listed as an ingredient?

                                                                        Answer: Water added in making a food is considered to be an ingredient. The added water must be identified in the list of ingredients and listed in its descending order of predominance by weight. If all water added during processing is subsequently removed by baking or some other means during processing, water need not be declared as an ingredient.
                                                                        “INGREDIENTS: Water, Navy Beans, and Salt”
                                                                        21 CFR 101.4(a); 21 CFR 101.4(c); Compliance Policy Guide 555.875 "

                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                          Just read a quick article, salt is used to prevent bacteria from growing as part of the cleaning the catch process. Appears to be quite logical.

                                                                          1. re: treb

                                                                            Not to mention they live in salt water anyway. If you're on a low sodium diet, maybe not the best choice ;-)

                                                                      2. re: Tom34

                                                                        I've been to many Gulf Shrimp processing facilities in TX and LA that pack 5# blocks of shell-on-headless wild shrimp when I worked in that industry. Most shrimp get a bath in a slurry of ice & salt. It acts not only to stop bacteria growth it also adds a little water weight.

                                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                                          If salt is listed as an ingredient, it is just that. It likely comes down to the concentration which is likely influenced by the amount of time a product is soaked in the solution. A longer soak likely leads to more swelling, more water absorption & more salt absorption. At some rate of salt concentration, the salt must be declared as an ingredient.

                                                                          While it has been years, I sold many brands of wild shrimp and never saw salt listed as an ingredient. In recent years I have bought high quality wild shrimp, both IQF & 5 lb boxes and have never seen salt listed as an ingredient.

                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                            Some honorable Gulf packers list salt and even sodium tripoly phosphate on their labels but the majority do not even though they use it and get away with it but the uptake of salt and other chemicals is limited by the shell. Here's a honest Gulf Shrimp label on a 5# block of Sysco brand shrimp. Shrimp, salt, water & sodium bisulfite (used on the boats to protect against black spots aka: melanosis) is the correct way to label Gulf shrimp.

                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                              We dealt almost exclusively with Ocean Garden and a few others when O.G. were in short supply but can't remember there names at this point. Salt was not an ingredient.

                                                                              As I posted a few minutes ago (prior to reading your latest), the salt ice water bath is for cooling just prior to freezing to speed up the freezing process and reduce ice crystals & there is very little absorption. Asian Farm raised often receive several soakings & lab analysis show their finished product salt content close to double that of wild caught. In the case of pre-cooked Asian farm raised it can be 6 times the sodium content.

                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                Steak is a classic example. The club stores use to purchase very high choice branded beef products which were noticeably better than standard supermarket offerings. Then the price of prime grade beef went through the roof primarily from pressure from importing countries. As a result, US restaurants started switching from prime grade to High Choice. Naturally the price of high choice then went up.

                                                                                When the price for high choice went up, the club stores switched to commodity choice and started the controversial practice of needling it to make up for the lower quality. Costco is front and center in the needling controversy, but yet they have your back when it comes to farm raised seafood????? I have some land in Florida for sale too.

                                                                                Same is true for seafood. Top quality is great in and of itself but unfortunately it rarely makes the big boys price point. So we export the good stuff to the highest bidder and import lesser quality product from other countries and put up a token regulation enforcement effort to police the industry which has a horrible record.

                                                                            2. re: zackly

                                                                              I just looked up the salt ice slurry wild shrimp get and it appears its a very quick process used to quickly chill the shrimp prior to freezing as it makes them freeze faster which produces less damaging ice crystals. That makes sense. The increase in salinity is minimal which I guess is why salt in NOT listed as an ingredient.

                                                                              I don't know how accurate the charts were but Asian farm raised shrimp (over 90% of the shrimp consumed in the US) contained close to double the sodium content of wild. That would indicate the process is different as is the intended outcome. There are references to multiple salt baths for Asian farm raised which also aids in the peeling process. End result is bloating of the fibers, increased water weight & increased sodium content.

                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                The only reason most domestic shrimp packers don't list water & salt as an ingredient is because nobody forces them to. Sysco lists it as an ingredient because they market themselves as honest seafood suppliers and they are which makes them the rare exception in a smarmy industry. Asian packers are much worse though. If you're talking about Ocean Garden from twenty years ago, that's a different company. Before they transitioned to mostly farm raised they packed great wild Mexican & Gulf Browns & Whites. Until the government forced them to declare on their packages "Wild" or "Farm Raised" they conveniently left it off their labels. I can't tell you how many times I had people come up to me @ trade shows and tell me "I've been buying OG for twenty years and it's not the same." Shell-on shrimp is not as problematic as peeled and deveined or EZ Peel. that's where the abuse really takes place!

                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                  My all time favorite is O.G. wild Mexican browns which they sell under the name Compass. Meaty, firm & bold flavor. I have also had their farm raised. Meaty, firm but not quite as much flavor......but light years ahead of any Asian farm raised I have ever had.

                                                                                  While the opinions of Anti-Asian farm raised folks are naturally biased to some degree, the evidence is overwhelming & damning. Combine that with our impotent inspection system and its frightening. For me, I would rather cut back on the frequency and focus on quality.

                                                                                  Needling beef has been cited as a dangerous process that can transfer bad surface bacteria to the otherwise safe interior. Needled meat NOW has to be conspicuously labeled as such with higher finished temps. Not only is Costco's steak needled, they didn't warn people with a conspicuous label until FORCED to. Their spin doctors can trumpet all the B.S. they want about their Asian farm raised seafood but in the end its just that, B.S.

                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                    With shrimp I only make one distinction, is it wild or not? I'll take any wild shrimp regardless of origin over any farm raised. Farm raised shrimp lack shrimp flavor. We imported farm raised black tiger and Vannamei whites from all over the world. The biggest difference was the quality of workmanship but that was minimal. They just are flavorless. Compass West Coast Mexican Browns are one of my favorites too along with the Belem pinks from Northern Brazil which I haven't seen in years.

                                                                      3. re: treb

                                                                        One thing I forgot is that wild caught shrimp typically come in 2 qualities.......#1 & #2.........with #1 being the best and costing more.

                                                                        Also beware of the Chinese Jumbo Lump Crab meat at $14.99 lb. .....I don't know what they are doing to it but its virtually tasteless compared to the domestic @ $28.99lb.

                                                              2. re: AdamD

                                                                Shrimp are bottom-feeders anyway. Their diet would gross out almost anybody, no matter where they came from. My issue is the antibiotics they pump in there to keep them from dying from the pollution.

                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                  YEP. The ponds are so over populated that they need antibiotics. Its just nasty stuff IMHO.

                                                                2. re: AdamD

                                                                  I've eaten Costco shrimp for years and found it excellent. Most of those years, I lived in Hawaii, where fresh (i.e., live) shrimp and prawns, both saltwater and freshwater, were easily brought home from local farms, so I had something pretty wonderful to compare Costco's with. My experience was that the Costco product, purchased frozen, was top-grade, though of course not as delicious as live local product. Costco's defrosted product, I concluded, was not as good as the frozen stuff. I now shy away from buying any kind of defrosted (previously frozen) seafood. I don't know why inland U.S. retailers even sell defrosted seafood ... I guess because their clueless customers will buy it thinking it is "fresh." Seafood properly frozen and kept frozen is usually better.

                                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                                    Where I am, they have to note if it is previously frozen. It's the law. Although they get creative and say things like, thawed for your convenience.

                                                                3. re: janie

                                                                  Try wild Pacific Mexican shrimp....whites & browns. Very cold clean water. Ocean Garden Co (Mexico) also produces about the best farmed raised shrimp there are. Unlike virtually ALL the Asian farm raised, they are NOT pumped and have a stronger shrimp flavor & normal consistency. Little more money but well worth it. (fooled many chefs)

                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                    Where can i get them in NYC? Fish market recently told me their shrimp are from panama, anyone have an opinion?

                                                                    1. re: janie

                                                                      This guy had a good reputation when I was in the shrimp business. He may sell Mexican Wild Whites or Browns. Just make sure they are wild caught because Mexico also farms shrimp.
                                                                      http://www.valsop.com/product_catalog...

                                                                      Actually, he may only sell wholesale

                                                              3. Imported farmed shrimp: The cheapest and most abundant shrimp on the market. It's also the most environmentally destructive, says Megan Westmeyer, who runs a sustainable seafood program at the South Carolina Aquarium. Most imported shrimp comes from South and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Bangladesh mostly), where shrimp farms have replaced the mangrove that once served as a natural barrier between the coastline and the ocean. Shrimp farms are also notoriously dirty: Waste from the farms is often pumped into the ocean, and pesticides and antibiotics are both in heavy use. Sometimes these substances leave the farm with the shrimp. "Very often inspectors find chemicals that are banned for human consumption by FDA on imported shrimp.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Jackbanker

                                                                  Shrimp farm Waste is also a major food source for many species of farm raised fish but thats another not so pleasant topic.

                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                    Shrimping for wild shrimp is not sustainable either, consider the by-catch as a % of shrimp caught. We see shrimpers sorting and throwing the small dead Flounder, Grouper, Snapper, etc. overboard when we are fishing out about 20 miles or so. The sharks often follow the shrimp boats just for an easy meal! All forms of obtaining shrimp are problematic, I guess that is why they are refered to as "Cockroaches of the Sea".

                                                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                                                      They should hook a shark or two while they're at it, now there's some good eating!

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        Coll,

                                                                        Caught on our beach last Sunday, but it was a Goliath Grouper, catch and release........

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                          Wow, that's as big as an average shark around here.

                                                                      2. re: ospreycove

                                                                        Yep, the Gulf red snapper season this year was eight days with a two fish max. Anybody want to buy a Shimano TLD 10?

                                                                  2. As far as I can tell, everyone is talking about the safety of eating the shrimp. I know that buying shrimp from Asia is chancy, as far as that goes. I've bought it for years and found the quality fairly good. As good as wild-caught? Of course not. But so much cheaper that for years we've eaten shrimp weekly instead of having it as an occasional treat. The reason that I've stopped buying it has nothing to do with that. I've only recently become aware of the link between Asian foodstuffs and forced/child labor. Taking a risk with my own health is my business. Supporting slavery, when one becomes aware of it is detestable.