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Shrimp is the most-consumed seafood product in the United States; however, there is a lack of research into the extent of short-weighting and mislabeling of shrimp in the commercial marketplace. The objective of this study was to investigate frozen shrimp for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) compliance, species authentication, acceptable market names, net weights, and percent glaze. A total of 106 frozen shrimp packages were purchased from grocery stores in Southern California. Samples were considered COOL compliant if both the procurement method and country of origin were reported at the point of sale. Species authentication and acceptable market names were determined by comparing the species identification based on DNA barcoding to the acceptable market names on the FDA Seafood List. Net weights and percent glaze were determined by recording the weight of each sample before and after deglazing according to AOAC methods. The measured net weight of each product was compared to the declared net weight to determine if samples had been short-weighted, taking into account the maximum allowable variation (MAV) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Overall, 94% of samples were compliant with COOL. The average percent glaze was 16.6%, with 26% of samples having >20% glaze. Short-weighting was detected in 37% of samples, with the greatest proportion of incidents recorded for the super/extra colossal shrimp category (57.1%). Species labeling errors were observed in 37% of samples due to conflicting market names, species substitution, and/or use of unacceptable market names. The results of this study indicate a high level of COOL compliance but suggest a need for increased scrutiny of species mislabeling and short-weighting of frozen shrimp.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Food Control. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Food Control, volume 155, in 2023.

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