FDA review: Ice part of seafood price?
The FDA said it is reviewing the results of a multistate investigation that found that shoppers have been paying for large amounts of ice that are not supposed to be included in the price of frozen seafood.
CHICAGO — The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that it is reviewing results of a multistate investigation that found that shoppers have been paying for large amounts of ice that are not supposed to be included in the price of frozen seafood.
The investigation — conducted by weights and measures inspectors in 17 states, including Washington — found that a coating of ice applied to frozen seafood to preserve quality during storage and distribution often was wrongly included as part of the labeled weight of seafood. In some instances, the investigation found, ice accounted for up to 40 percent of the product's weight.
"We're reviewing their results and determining whether FDA should take any action and, if so, what actions should we take," said Michael Herndon, spokesman for the FDA.
Herndon said the agency could direct one of its district offices to target a particular firm or consider import sampling of a particular commodity or country based on trends they are able to find.
All imports subject to FDA regulation are screened before entry into the country, Herndon said, and a new risk-based computerized system will enable investigators to better target food coming into the country that may be "adulterated, economically or otherwise."
If the FDA determines that economic fraud is taking place, he said, they first issue a warning letter and then take "stronger action," if necessary. Herndon said the FDA has issued numerous warning letters on the seafood issue.
The investigation was prompted by the National Fisheries Institute, a seafood industry association, over concerns about improper labeling used by some packaging companies.
More than 21,000 packages of seafood were removed from store shelves and distribution centers during the four-week investigation, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, which organized the investigation. The probe found a "significant market share" of packers were not following the law, either knowingly or because they didn't realize that they weren't supposed to include the weight of the ice glazing.
Seafood packers found in violation of packaging and labeling laws face a range of penalties, depending on the state, that could include fines and court action. In some cases, violations were found at grocers that pack their own seafood.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.
I've been fortunate to have traveled the world: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia. Exotic islands, too. Wherever I go, I'm struck by one undeniable trut...
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