Frequently Asked Questions

lf you have a question about our products or who we are, feel free to ask! Visit the questions and comments section HERE.

Quick Question Links:

Where does your product come from? (Kim, Richmond MA)

Seafood is a global business and Orca Bay Seafoods is a global company. Our seafood is sourced from every ocean of the world. See our sourcing map in the factory on the homepage for specific information on each species.

Is your Imported Seafood safe?(Jackson, Modesto CA)

Orca Bay Seafoods is committed to providing safe and quality products. Our sourcing program relies on vendor certification and independent inspectors to achieve our quality goals. All of our vendors go through a detailed approval process before we source any products from them. This approval process requires visits to the plant/farms by our company representatives, reviews of their processing records, and yearly third party safety audits. We also contract with SGS, a world-recognized testing company, to inspect all products packed for Orca Bay Seafoods.

For more information, please review our Safety At A Glance.

How can Alaskan Salmon come from China? (Halbert, Redding CA)

Where we catch or harvest our seafood products is a source of pride for us. We try to bring you the best of what the world’s oceans have to offer. Federal labeling guidelines require us to label the country of origin, not the ocean of origin. So, if a Keta Salmon is caught in the Bering Sea near Alaska, but is filleted and portioned in another country, it then becomes “product of” that country. Sorry for the confusion, but those are the rules.

Is there a store in my area that sells your product line? (Max, Memphis TN)

Our retail line is expanding to new stores everyday. The popularity of the product speaks for itself, and if you can’t find Orca Bay Seafoods in your local grocer, demand it! In the meantime, here’s a nifty easy to use store locator.

What’s better? Frozen or fresh seafood? (Jin, Rosemead CA)

Think fresh seafood is better than frozen? Consider where all the fresh seafood comes from. While it’s transported from the remote reaches of the ocean where it’s caught to the dock, to the market, to the display case, it’s slowly spoiling. It could be days from catch to your table, and by then it’s far from fresh. Our seafood is frozen within hours of catch, usually while still at sea, locking in the fresh flavor and preserving it until you’re ready to prepare it. Remember the opposite of fresh is rotten, not frozen.

Learn more here:

http://fishcooking.about.com/od/howtochoosefreshfish/a/buy_frozen_fish.htm

While shopping at my local grocer I noticed Passport Foods brand swai fillets distributed by Orca Bay Seafoods Inc., next to Orca Bay brand mahi mahi fillets in the same freezer case, what’s the difference between the two brands? (Josephine, Vancouver BC Canada)

Good question. Like most companies, Orca Bay has many brands in their product portfolio. Simply put, our Orca Bay brand seafood is all-natural with no additives while our Passport Foods products contain FDA approved food additives that are clearly labeled in the ingredient statement on our packages. 

Does your product contain mercury? (Mike, Honolulu HI)

Methyl-mercury in seafood can be harmful for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children, and knowing the facts about what you’re eating can be the difference between a healthy lifestyle and potentially dangerous effects. 

 All fish contains minute levels of methyl-mercury, some more than others. With pelagic (open ocean) tropical fish species such as swordfish and tuna that are “top of the food chain” and therefore prone to higher levels of methyl mercury, we do extensive testing to make sure our products are well within safe FDA regulated levels (10/PPM - less mercury than high fructose corn syrup!). So continue to enjoy Orca Bay seafood, a safe, healthy and natural product with a clear conscience and a full stomach.

That being said, the right kinds of seafood are encouraged by the USDA for women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children. Here are statements made in the most recent (6/10) version of the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: 

"Moderate, consistent evidence shows that health benefits derived from the consumption of a variety of cooked seafood in the US in amounts recommended by the Committee outweigh the risks associated with methyl mercury (MeHg) and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) exposure, even among women who may become or who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger. Overall, consumers can safely eat at least 12 oz. of a variety of cooked seafood per week provided they pay attention to local seafood advisories and limit their intake of large, predatory fish. Women who may become or who are pregnant, nursing mothers, and children ages 12 and younger can safely consume a variety of cooked seafood in amounts recommended by this Committee while following Federal and local advisories."

And also: 

"Moderate evidence shows that consumption of two servings of seafood per week (4 oz per serving), which provide an average of 250 mg per day of long-chain n-3 fatty acids, is associated with reduced cardiac mortality from CHDor sudden death in persons with and without CVD."
 
"Moderate evidence indicates that increased maternal dietary intake of long chain n-3 PUFA, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from at least 2 servings of seafood per week, during pregnancy and lactation is associated with increased DHA levels in breast milk and improved infant health outcomes, such as visual acuity and cognitive development."

For more information:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/Seafood/FoodbornePathogensContaminants/Methylmercury/ucm115662.htm

http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-DGACReport.htm

Why do I have to remove the packaging prior to thawing? (Sammi, Bellevue WA)

Our products are sealed in vacuum-packed pouches while still frozen. This prevents dehydration or “freezer burn”, and is most effective way to preserve quality. We go to great lengths to bring you the best seafood possible, as with any all-natural product there are bacteria that develop during the thaw process. The curious thing about seafood is that when in an anaerobic (airless) environment, there is a chance of the formation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, also known as C-bot, a cause of food poisoning. By removing the packaging, you eliminate the risk of C-bot contamination. Just to be on the safe side, the FDA requires these guidelines for all vacuum-packed seafood. 

Are the nutrition facts listed on your bag for raw or cooked product? (Tiiiu, emailed in)

The nutrition facts on the packaging are almost always for raw products except some shrimp, langostinos, and crab. We get the nutritional facts from the USDA Nutrient Library. We also periodically send out samples to an independent laboratory for nutritional analysis. 

Why does the nutritional information state a 4oz portion, but there are two pieces of fish in a 10oz bag? (Helen, Aurora CO)

Our nutrition labels follow FDA guidelines for Standard Serving Size. For most seafood, this is 4oz. Since our retail line is a 10oz bag, the servings per container are listed as 2.5. 

Learn more here:

http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/ConsumerInformation/ucm078889.htm

Are your products sustainable? (Elizabeth, Corvallis OR)

We have a wide variety of seafood products and the catch methods vary from species to species. I can assure you that our purchasers have our corporate belief in responsibility and sustainability in mind when sourcing our products, and we are committed to ever-increasing measures to protect fisheries and stocks for generations to come. 

You may have already read our sustainability policy on the web site, but in case you missed it you can find it here:

http://orcabayseafoods.com/who-we-are/sustainable-fisheries

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/sfweb/

Can I eat my fish raw? (Trevor, emailed in) 

As a responsible seafood company, we can not encourage or condone our customers to consume any seafood product that has not been cooked to an internal temperature of 140ºF. According to the FDA, some people are at greater risk for food borne illnesses, and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised
  • Persons who have decreased stomach acidity

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider. 

That being said, we do have Ahi Tuna recipes on the web site (with disclaimers) for pan-seared Moroccan-Style Ahi Tuna, and a Ahi Tuna Ceviche, where they do not meet these standards for cooking. And if you choose to eat Ahi Tuna steaks raw or pan-seared, enjoy- but do so at you own risk.

You can find those recipes by visiting:

http://orcabayseafoods.com/cooking-recipes/fish/47

How long can the fish thaw in the refrigerator before I need to discard it? (Doris, NJ)

Most people can’t wait to eat our seafood products, but if you thaw in the refrigerator, remember to remove the packaging and consume within 48 hours to fully enjoy the optimum flavor and freshness of our delicious fish.  

What is histamine fish poisoning and should I be concerned? (Helen, Glasgow MT)

Histamine Fish Poisoning is a rare but serious allergic reaction that’s caused when some scromboid species like tuna, mahi mahi, bluefish and mackerel are poorly handled and temperature abused, causing certain amino acids (histitides) to turn into histamines. Histamines cannot be detected in fish by common sensory evaluations like smell or taste and cannot be eliminated by cooking, canning or freezing the fish. Orca Bay does extensive histamine testing to ensure that our products are well under the FDA limit, but histamine poisoning can still occur if you let the fish get warm prior to cooking or mishandled on your way home from the store. 

For more information:

http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074506.htm

How long does vacuum packed seafood last in my freezer? (Alycia, Kent WA)

Again, we know most of our customers cant wait to eat our delicious seafood, but we generally recommend 12 months or less in the freezer for vacuum-packed seafood products. If you’re unsure of the original date of freezing, there’s a stamp on the top of the package near the tear line  of when it was packaged. 

Is your Tuna Dolphin safe? (Roger, New Bedford, CT)

Yes, all our tuna is 100% dolphin safe. Our tuna are caught using long-line method, and the tuna go for bait (specific to the tuna - usually squid) on an actual line and then reeled in. No nets involved, which means we can be sure no dolphins were harmed in the catch of our tuna. 

What does MSC stand for on the packaging? (John, Houston TX)

MSC is the Marine Stewardship Council – one of the most widely-recognized international third party organizations for sustainability and traceability certification for seafood products. Using the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations)  Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries they use science to certify the sustainability of fisheries not just individual species. Orca Bay is a licensed chain of custody distributor of MSC products.

For more information visit: www.msc.org and www.fao.org

Is wild seafood better than farmed? (Matthew, El Segundo CA)

Is a wolf better than a golden retriever? It’s really the same question. One is domesticated and one is wild. And in their particular environments they are best adapted to be what they are. Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon is fantastic when it’s wild, because that’s what makes the deep red color and legendary taste of the Sockeye. But, tilapia is better suited for aquaculture due to their omnivorous diet, tolerance of high stocking density, and rapid growth. So, if you’re feeling wild and want a fillet of Sockeye for dinner tonight, by all means go for it. And if you just want to grill some tilapia for some tacos in the afternoon comfort of your backyard with your golden retriever, that’s okay with us too! 

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