Deception detected in the sale of imported frozen seafood to Mexico


The weight of frozen seafood does not indicate the amount of water added by freezing and icing the product; In this way, the consumer ends up paying more and “domestic producers face unfair competition”.

Those who buy frozen fish and shrimp maybe being deceived, as a study by the Oceana Mexico organization confirms that the product contains up to 30 percent of its weight in water, which is not indicated on the packaging or label.

In this way, the consumer would be paying up to 50 percent more than the product actually costs.

The organization reported that freezing, as well as glazing, are adequate methods of conservation of fish and shellfish, however, the lack of regulation in the sale of seafood has led to consumers paying for water at the price of animal protein

“In this first investigation, we identify how common it is to resort to glazing for frozen fish fillets and shrimp, and that in 98% of cases there is no information and water is sold for fish; This is a hoax to consumers, who end up paying a premium of up to 50% on some samples, ”says the document.

This deception is greater in imported products, which are offered at a lower price than the national product, but in many cases, they end up costing more for the percentages of water added.

“Fraud happens in a context of lack of regulation in the sale of seafood, in which you can also sell one species for another, as we documented in our first investigation of species substitution through DNA tests”

Oceana Mexico

That is one of the reasons why it is currently not possible to verify which species is consumed, or how much water they added, he said.

Results of the study

After analyzing 82 samples of frozen fish and shrimp in 10 different supermarkets in Mexico City, it was identified that 98% of samples of frozen fish and shrimp fillets have glaze, which is not indicated on the packaging or label.

In general, the samples have different glaze percentages, from 1 to 57%

With regard to fish fillets, the base and the imported tilapia were the ones with the highest percentage of glaze, however, the imported shrimp is the product that contains the most water added, exceeding 30 percent of their weight.

Imported products contain more water

Oceana Mexico said that imported products showed more undeclared glaze than domestic products. For example, imported fish fillets presented an average of 20 percent glaze while in national fish it was 6 percent.

In imported tilapia, it was found that half the weight was frozen water.

In the case of imported shrimp, it was found that the product had an average of 31 percent of added water while in domestic shrimp the percentage was 8.5

You can check more details of the study here.

How does it affect us?

According to Oceana Mexico, selling products without indicating the weight added by the glaze is a way to deceive consumers who do not have enough information to make purchase decisions.

This fraud causes consumers to pay more and generates unfair competition for Mexican producers.

For that reason, the report points out, it is important that all the authorities involved participating in the construction of a legal framework that gives fish and shellfish consumers certainty about the product they are consuming.

“For that, a traceability policy is needed to record what happens to fish and shellfish during the supply chain, and in which the different authorities that watch over both the health of the seas and the rights of the consumers”.

Oceana Mexico

What is frosting?

The freezing of fish and shellfish is a conservation method that allows maintaining the properties and quality for longer. Glaze is another method that includes the creation of a surface layer of frozen water that protects the product. In Mexico, this practice is not regulated and we do not know what percentage of water is added, but it is often done for fish fillets and frozen shrimp.

In an ideal regulatory scenario, labels or packages of fish and shellfish should include how many grams correspond to the glaze and how many to the product, or that the reported weight includes the extra grams gained by the glaze. In this way, the consumer is certain that they are paying for a kilo of product and what is the real price, the agency explained.


The Mazatlan Post