Considerations when buying Seafood from a Grocery Store

Some of us are lucky enough to have access to fresh seafood from coastal areas or local fishmongers. But let’s face it, not everyone can do that, and many of us end up buying seafood from the grocery store. Now, I’m not saying don’t buy from them, but their seafood might not always be the best option. So, here are some of the top reasons why you might want to think twice about buying your fish from grocery stores.

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Product Mislabeling 

So, here’s the deal – “Fish Fraud” is a real thing in the seafood scene. Labels often play tricks, and with over 90% of seafood consumed in the US is imported, leaves a lot of room for uncertainty. Grocery stores, especially large chains, may mislabel the type of fish or its origin. For instance, a package labeled as a premium, locally caught fish might actually contain a less expensive, imported variety. Consumers are often in for a surprise, falling into a classic bait-and-switch situation.

Unknown Freshness

Let’s talk about the reality of “fresh” seafood. It’s not as straightforward as it sounds. In big-box grocery stores, what’s labeled as “fresh” fish might surprise you. It could be either a week old or more or even previously frozen. Many big-box grocery stores proudly claim that none of their seafood is ever frozen. Sounds good, right? Well, here’s the twist – most of their seafood comes from places like Chile, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. Knowing this, I’d personally opt for the reliability of frozen or flash-frozen seafood. Buying “fresh” can be a bit of a gamble on quality, considering you never really know the age, handling, or travel distance of the fish before it reaches the store.

Antibiotics in Farm-Raised Fish

Most grocery stores offer some wild-caught fish, but finding quality may require label hunting. This often leads consumers to choose farm-raised options, which are lower in nutritional value and may contain harmful additives. Industrial fish farming relies on antibiotics for disease prevention, and the misuse of drugs can leave residues in seafood, causing health problems for consumers. Some farm-raised fish, like salmon, are even fed artificial pigments. Check the label – some even admit, “Color Added Through Feed.” Awareness of these practices is essential for making informed and healthy seafood choices.

Wild-Caught, American Seafood is Rare

With grocery stores importing over 90% of their seafood, true wild-caught American seafood, sourced from well-regulated US waters, is now a rarity. Opting for American wild-caught seafood not only supports fishermen but also ensures a healthier and tastier choice compared to their farmed counterparts. Every time you choose wild American seafood, you not only support American fishermen but you become a positive force for local economies, sustainable practices, transparency, and environmental conservation. Your choices matter, and they actively contribute to a healthier, more responsible seafood industry.

In a nutshell, buying seafood from grocery stores might seem convenient, but there are important things to consider. Watch out for mislabeled products, ambiguous claims about freshness, and the use of antibiotics in farm-raised fish. The scarcity of true wild-caught American seafood emphasizes the importance of being cautious in your seafood choices. Choosing transparent, locally sourced options is not just about a healthier and more sustainable choice but also about backing the livelihoods of our local fishermen. Discover locally caught seafood near you using this helpful resource: Local Catch Finder. Enjoy high-quality seafood and support local fishermen!