Some California consumers may have been paying for a whole lot of ice, instead of seafood, according to an investigation that included inspections in 17 states.
In some cases, a coating of ice glaze applied to frozen seafood to preserve quality during storage and distribution has been included as part of the labeled weight of seafood, according to the National Conference on Weights and Measures. The multi-agency investigation found ice in some cases accounted for up to 40% of the product's weight.
The investigation was prompted by the National Fisheries Institute, a seafood industry group, over concerns of unfair competition by companies using the illegal labeling method.
More than 21,000 packages of seafood were removed from sale during the four-week investigation, said the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which organized the investigation, and the investigation found that a "significant market share" of seafood packers were not following the law.
Randy Jennings, chairman of the National Conference on Weights and Measures, said consumers should contact their state weights and measures authority if they suspect fraud.