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July 1, 2015

United States

California—What’s Wrong with This Label?


Costco Wholesale Corporation is an American membership-only warehouse club that markets a wide selection of merchandise, including groceries—and shrimp.  In 2014, it was the third largest retailer in the United States!  As of April 15, 2014, it had a total of 672 warehouses, spread throughout the United States (474), Canada (89), United Kingdom (26), Australia (7), Mexico (34), Taiwan (10), South Korea (11), Japan (20) and Spain (1).


I shop at Costco on a regular basis, and, of course, I always check out the shrimp.  Here’s a label from a package of shrimp that I saw on my last trip to Costco.  It contains at least one bad mistake, along with several other things that I think should be corrected.  See if you can find the error and the things that should be corrected, and then read my comments.




1. The bad mistake.  Vannamei is misspelled!


2. The size count is not on the package.


3. The shrimp are labeled “prawns”.  Chefs, marketers and designers of restaurant menus love to call marine shrimp “prawns” because it makes them sound more exotic, but freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium species) are being marketed all over the United States these days, so the name “prawn” should be reserved for them.


4. Salt.  Yes, a little salt lifts the flavor of shrimp, but I’m suspicious that salt is added here to increase or retain the weight of the shrimp.  Also, the label does not tell us how much salt has been added.  For health reasons, many consumers around the world avoid salt.  Why not let consumers decide on whether or not to add salt to their shrimp?


5. The red-lettered “SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS” at the bottom of the label were written for the meat and poultry industry, and say nothing about seafood or shrimp.


Source: Bob Rosenberry, Shrimp News International, July 1, 2015.

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