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frozen fish from China: worth a try?

ltsering Feb 26, 2014 11:39 AM

Grocery Outlet has various bags of frozen wild fish -- salmon, hake, flounder -- which are from China. Would you buy these? They are certainly cheap.

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  1. Ruth Lafler RE: ltsering Feb 26, 2014 11:45 AM

    I try not to buy food from China, period, since the quality control is iffy at best. If it's cheap, that means the production processes are probably appalling, i.e. overcrowded and unsanitary fish farms.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      dunstable RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 26, 2014 12:03 PM

      I remember reading a long article in the Atlantic a few years ago about how Wal-Mart was growing rapidly in China as a purveyor of organic foods, because its products were perceived by its citizens to be safer and healthier than the domestic options. Wal-Mart! If even Chinese people put Wal-Mart above their native products, I personally want no part of it.

      1. re: dunstable
        Ruth Lafler RE: dunstable Feb 26, 2014 12:14 PM

        Since Chinese baby formula makers poisoned hundreds of thousands of babies, their fears are well-founded.


        1. re: dunstable
          vil RE: dunstable Feb 27, 2014 08:37 AM

          To be fair, it must be much more difficult to find safe food sources there, even if not prohibitively expensive. I read about family/local food operations where the producers would never eat their own products, knowing what toxins go in there. I find it sad, where one probably cannot even trust their neighbourhood operations, except for maybe close friends and family. In this state, with no better alternatives, choosing "organic" from a big corporate like Walmart might be a somewhat better choice, compared to say, a specialty health food store that charges an arm and a leg, and yet still puts you at a high risk (my perception) of being scammed.

          Personally, I do not trust "organic" food from China. (And consequently, I do not fully trust organic food that says it is made in Canada because it can still mean that it is sourced from anywhere in the world including China. UNLESS it says explicitly where it is from, or at least bears reference to some local address that makes sense).

          That reminds me to be very grateful that I have much better choices for safe food over here.

      2. vil RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 08:47 AM

        On the other hand, with the ongoing news about radiation contamination found at various places in the world, I find it very confusing what is a safe seafood source anymore. My current strategy is to enjoy seafood in moderation. I probably would not get it myself, but would not make a big deal and just eat it up if presented to me.

        1. JTPhilly RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 09:24 AM

          Ocean fish I don't worry so much about what country they come from - I figure its all one ocean - maybe that's stupid but the farm fish I find a bit more concerning - I would not eat broccoli grown in china I don't want to eat fish grown there either. Too many environmental and safe practice concerns. Its a shame because affordable fish could really be a healthful addition to diets. Talapia, Swai and some of those other farm fish have yucky texture anyway though and are not worthy to be used as chum


          1. LindaWhit RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 09:48 AM

            No. You get what you pay for. Cheap fish will be, in all likelihood, crappy fish.

            And the "wild salmon from China" is probably just processed in China but shipped in from elsewhere.

            And I could be wrong, as I don't work in the fisheries industry, but I wouldn't trust that it's salmon either. From what I've read:


            "Chinese Salmon is also processed as chum portions in Quingdao, Dalian and Yantai which are the centers of China's coldwater fish reprocessing industry. The US exports of frozen chums to China have tripled every year.

            A special variety of Chinese Salmon, Salmo Trutta Fario is processed in Yadong County."

            Salmo Trutta Fario - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_trout

            The Salmonidae family includes salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes and graylings.

            So you could be buying brown trout vs. salmon.

            Buy Alaskan wild-caught during the season. Seabear is one site I've bought from, and it's absolutely amazing.


            2 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit
              masha RE: LindaWhit Feb 27, 2014 10:08 AM

              This was my thought too: Aside from issues of pollution as to fish caught in China, I would be worried about mislabeled/counterfeit/ adulterated fish ostensibly originating in international oceans. Counterfeit/ adulterated products is a huge issue in China's domestic markets. There is no reason to believe that their exports are any more reliable.

              1. re: LindaWhit
                emu48 RE: LindaWhit Mar 1, 2014 05:57 PM

                "Chum" is a tricky word, in the context of a discussion of salmon.

                Chum usually means fish scraps and trimmings thrown in the water by fisher persons to attract fishes.

                But it also means a kind of salmon. Chum salmon is a species of salmon that's relatively abundant in the Pacific Northwest but low on the totem pole of what most western salmon consumers prefer. It's quite tasty, but it doesn't taste so salmon-y. Maybe that's why it gets shipped to China, I dunno ...

              2. e
                emu48 RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 11:12 AM

                China has a gangster form of government. Chinese manufacturers were allowed to poison Chinese infants with formula containing melamine. If the Chinese government doesn't give a damn about poisoning its own children, how much do you think it worries about poisoning foreign devils like us?

                1. fldhkybnva RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 11:39 AM

                  I love fish and it can be tempting, but I avoid the fish, even wild fish, from China.

                  1. MamasCooking RE: ltsering Feb 27, 2014 05:44 PM

                    I would not buy it but I am obsessed with my food sources.

                    1. g
                      gordeaux RE: ltsering Mar 1, 2014 06:26 AM

                      Your description of the fish you are asking about is "frozen, cheap, and Chinese."

                      Good luck with all that.

                      1. g
                        gfr1111 RE: ltsering Mar 1, 2014 09:32 AM

                        No. These are the same guys who brought you tainted toys that killed babies, tainted dog food that killed dogs, wall board that leaked poisonous gas and disintegrated, etc. I am not going to buy what I eat from them!

                        And this isn't some jingoistic rant. It's simply that clearly there are insufficient regulatory programs in place in China to assure quality and safety.

                        We read frequent stories about the fish farms of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in which fish are raised in crowded ponds, with their excrement insufficiently removed from the ponds, and then dosed with antibiotics to hold down the ensuing disease. Based on their record in other areas, would the Chinese fish farms be much better?

                        1. Kris in Beijing RE: ltsering Mar 1, 2014 05:31 PM

                          Please don't buy these.
                          A few note on "legality" :
                          In China -- Just Like In The US -- there is not a true legal definition of "organic."
                          AND, labelling in any language other than Chinese can say anything and not be illegal.

                          1. Kat RE: ltsering Mar 2, 2014 10:37 AM

                            No, never. It is cheap for a reason and that reason will not be a good one.

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