Labeling Compliance, Species Authentication, and Short-Weighting of Prepackaged Frozen Shrimp Sold in Grocery Stores in Southern California
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
While shrimp is the most-consumed seafood product in the United States, there is a lack of research into the extent of short-weighting and mislabeling of shrimp in the 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 determined to be 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 taking the weight of each sample before and after deglazing according to AOAC methods. The determined 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 allowed variance (MAV) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. Overall, 94% of samples were compliant with COOL; two samples did not indicate the production method and three had conflicting country of origin information on the label and placard. 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 mislabeling was observed in 37% of samples, with 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.
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Rivers, M.C. (2023). Labeling compliance, species authentication, and short-weighting of prepackaged frozen shrimp sold in grocery stores in southern California. Master's thesis, Chapman University. https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000460
Available for download on Friday, May 09, 2025