Benefits of Buying Wild Caught American Shrimp
There are a number of things for consumers to consider when purchasing high-quality seafood. First, it’s important to buy seafood from reputable places – those with a known record of safe handling practices – and avoid roadside stands. And since seafood is highly perishable, purchase it last. Make sure the raw juices from seafood do not drip on other foods, especially those that will be eaten without further cooking. (Bacteria in the raw juices can cause cooked foods to spoil, and since these foods are already cooked, there won’t be any chance for the bacteria to be destroyed.) You can avoid cross-contamination in your shopping cart by enclosing individual packages of seafood in plastic bags.
When purchasing seafood, the word “fresh” generally refers to seafood that has not been frozen. Yet “frozen” does not have a bad connotation. Frozen seafood can be superior in quality to fresh seafood, so base your purchase on product quality. (Products labeled “fresh frozen” indicate the seafood was frozen while it was fresh, in many instances within hours of harvest. If fishery products were frozen and thawed for retail sale they should be labeled “previously frozen.”)
There are some safety considerations that consumers should be aware of before they select the types of seafood products they intend to eat. For example, individuals need to be aware of any allergies that they might have to specific types of fish, shellfish (clams, oysters) or crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crab). Finfish and crustaceans are two of the eight key allergens that account for 90% of allergic responses from food. Since proper cooking and handling will not remove the allergenic properties of the food, it is necessary for consumers to avoid the food of concern.
Buying Raw Shrimp
Raw shrimp meat should be firm and have a mild odor. The shells of most varieties are translucent with a grayish green, pinkish tan, or light pink tint. The shells should not have blackened edges or black spots – this is a sign of quality loss. Cooked shrimp meat should be firm and have no disagreeable odor. The color of the meat should be white with red or pink tints.
Buying Frozen Seafood
Commercially frozen fish is quickly frozen at its peak freshness. Consumers can now find a wide choice of top-quality and wholesome seafood in the freezer case. When properly thawed, frozen fish is comparable to fish that was never frozen. Both exhibit the qualities of freshness described previously. Frozen fish and shellfish should be packaged in a close-fitting, moisture-proof package. Select packages from below the load line of the freezer case. Look for packages that still have their original shape and the wrapping intact with little or no visible ice. Seafood should be frozen solid with no signs of freezer burn, such as discoloration or drying on the surface, and have no objectionable odor. The same guidelines apply for frozen prepared seafood, such as crab cakes, breaded shrimp, or fish sticks. Do not allow the package to defrost during transportation. When properly thawed, frozen fish can be comparable to fish that was never frozen.