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April 23, 2013

Europe

50% of Shrimp Imported from Southeast Asia Is Short-Weighted

 

According to a recent investigation by Belgafood, the association of Belgian food importers 50 percent of the frozen shrimp imported into Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands from Southeast Asia is short-weighted because of over-glazing.

 

Out of 240 samples, 120 of them weighed from 3-28 percent less than what was indicated on the label.

 

“It’s a very widespread problem,” said Olivier Hottlet, president of Belgafood.  “What we did was to remove the glazing from the product, weigh it and compare it with its label.”

 

The use of protective glazing for frozen seafood products is a common practice to prevent dehydration and to deliver a quality product.  The practice of glazing is perfectly legal as long as glazing levels and product content are labeled correctly on the pack.  But, since water is cheaper than shrimp, some companies are tempted to over-glaze.  Customers wind up paying for ice.

 

Hottlet said the study results are known to the European Commission, and it is “very interested”, but doesn’t intend to take any action.  If, however, individual member states did start investigating, he said, the EC is “ready to coordinate and broaden...the investigation at the European Union (EU) level.”

 

Hottlet suspects fraud on a similar scale in southern European countries such as Italy, Greece and Spain, which import most of their shrimp from South American producers.

 

Source: Boletin Informativo (Cámara Nacional de Acuacultura, Ecuador’s National Aquaculture Association).  Editor, Jorge Tejada (jtejada@cna-ecuador.com).  Illegal shrimp Overglazing “Widespread” in Central Europe.  April 16 2013.

 

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