For the past several days, I have visited a Food Market in Aberdeen, NJ. However, this type of problem is not only at that location but at many supermarkets, fish stores, etc. - throughout the country . The present food codes/regulations are sunsetting in N J.now and comments are needed.
At this particular location, two plastic tubs filled with crabs were available out on the aisles to see, touch, handle. No water, ice, -- they were on top of each other waiting to die.
The lobsters were in huge tanks but so overcrowded that they could be seen jammed up against each other with no way to move. Please take a look at the pictures below. If you need digital pictures, please advise.
The following is copied from an e-mail of one of our volunteers:
Just FYI, I was a regional supervisor for a major supermarket chain for about 18 years and some of the things that were allowed concerning seafood was quite sickening. When I was a store manager, there were several times that I remember my employees complaining to me that customers asked them to "split" lobsters for them. I was asked to do it once myself and just couldn't do it. It was taking a live lobster out of the tank and splitting the tail down the middle, pulling off the claws, then throwing the rest of the body out (usually it was still alive). Whenever we opened a new store, they would order a huge lobster around 5 or 6 lbs. which would of course die in a day or two, then they would just cook it to leave it on display. They would also get bushels of dungeness crabs and have them on display like in the picture, with no ice or water. If you or someone you know can get something done to change the regulations regarding food handling of meat/seafood, it would be well worth it.
The only regulation on the books is that you cannot sell a lobster that is dead. There is a protocol of keeping lobsters in salt water tanks, on ice, or sprayed frequently but since it is not a regulation, there are no health code violations … We have been advised that the State Dept. of Health is re-visiting the Food Codes as present regulations are sunsetting.
How to make your voice heard on this issue:
Please e-mail Manley William or write to William Manley, Retail Food Coordinator, N J Dept. of Health & Senior Services, CN 360, Trenton, N J 08625-0360, Phone 609-826-4935.This is your opportunity to ask that lobsters , crabs, eels, etc., be given better care and humane protection while being sold to consumers.