1I’ve heard that a lot of farmed seafood are full of antibiotics, does your fish contain antibiotics?

The use of antibiotics in aquaculture continues to be a topic of concern to many consumers.

Please be assured that we share those concerns and strictly adheres to the FDA policy of zero tolerance for unapproved antibiotics and fungicides used in aquaculture operations. In accordance with HACCP importer guidelines we require annual letters of guarantee on file from our aquaculture suppliers confirming they are in complete compliance with the FDA’s Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance (4th Edition). This includes FDA’s zero tolerance policy for unapproved antibiotics and fungicides.

Although we are only required by the FDA to conduct periodic testing, Orca Bay has voluntarily elected to test 100% of all imported shipments. Beginning in 2008 we contracted with SGS and NSF; globally accredited 3rd party inspection firms to test our products prior to shipment to the United States. Depending upon the species we follow the FDA Import Alert Guidelines and test not only for unapproved aquaculture antibiotics and fungicides but also histamine, mercury and microbiological levels of the products we import.

 

2Is wild seafood better than farmed?

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!

3What does MSC stand for on the packaging?

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 you can visit their site.

4Is your Tuna Dolphin safe?

Yes, all our tuna is 100% dolphin safe

5How long does vacuum packed seafood last in my freezer?

Again, we know most of our customers cant wait to eat our delicious seafood, but we generally recommend 18 months or less in the freezer for vacuum-packed seafood products. The “Best By Date” is on the top of the bag, this is not the date it was packed.

6What is histamine fish poisoning and should I be concerned?

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.

7How long can the fish thaw in the refrigerator before I need to discard it?

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.

8Can I eat my fish raw?

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.

 

 

9Are your products sustainable?

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.

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

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.

11Are the nutrition facts listed on your bag for raw or cooked product?

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.

12Why do I have to remove the packaging prior to thawing?

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.

13Does your product contain mercury?

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.”

 

14While 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?

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.

15What’s better? Frozen or fresh seafood?

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.

16Where does your product come from?

Seafood is a global business and Orca Bay Seafoods is a global company. Our seafood is sourced from every ocean of the world.

17Is your Imported Seafood safe?

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.

18Is there a store in my area that sells your product line?

Our retail line is expanding to new stores everyday. You can use our store locator to look-up via your zip code or you can order directly from our fish house to yours with Orca Direct our online store!