HARTFORD, – The Department of Consumer Protection has found that ice glazing on packaged frozen seafood such as shrimp, scallops and fish sold in Connecticut can make a significant impact on the amount of product that consumers get for their money, agency Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. said today.
Following a 2009 federal report on ice glazing in frozen foods, the Department joined 18 other states in a multi-state frozen seafood investigation. Connecticut’s review included packaged seafood from 20 different grocery locations statewide, including major grocery chains and independent grocers.
“We tested 52 different seafood products and exactly half of them failed, in that the packages contained less actual product in weight than was labeled,” Farrell said. “Excess ice made up the difference, which on average was 4.5% per package. If you’re buying a 5-pound bag of shrimp at $6.00 a pound, but a quarter pound is just ice, you’re really paying $6.31 a pound for the shrimp you get.”
Inspectors removed all packages of the 26 failed products from sale. In all, 847 packages of short-weight seafood were taken off sale. The actual dollar cost of the shortages ranged from just two cents to $1.95 per package.
“On average, a customer buying one of these short-weight packages would pay 50 cents on just ice, so the economic impact of just the 847 packages we removed was more than $425.00,” Farrell said. “These short-weights are grossly unfair to the consumer, and quickly add up. No one should be paying for excess ice on frozen seafood,” he said.
Connecticut has adopted National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards for verifying how much the actual seafood weighs (the net weight). Ice and glazing in seafood packages is not allowed to be counted in the net weight of the product.