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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Wild American Shrimp, Inc. (WASI) has created a new inspection system with higher quality standards than current standards provide. The new system, implemented through WASI's Certification Program, defines three new quality standards designed to assure high quality of shrimp. The system relies on Licensed Trained Evaluators (LTEs) to conduct the inspections and document the findings for all wild-caught U.S. shrimp that carry the Certified Wild American Shrimp mark.
"We've set these new standards for a couple of reasons," said Eddie Gordon, executive director of WASI. "First, to provide a certified premium product that meets high standards for quality and point of origin. Second, to differentiate Certified Wild American Shrimp in the marketplace and help consumers make a more informed choice about the shrimp they eat."
Shrimp is currently inspected by the U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC), which has a single inspection seal for shrimp, which can be applied to any shrimp that meet the government standard without regard to point of origin. USDC does label shrimp it has inspected as either Grade A and Grade B. Those grades measure certain quality aspects of the product. "In the current government inspection system, the USDC inspection seal can be applied to shrimp that are imported or domestic, wild-caught, pond-raised, or farmed," said Gordon. "The inspection doesn't tell us enough about the origin of shrimp, and the grade system provides some information but not enough to help consumers understand the differences in shrimp."
The three higher standards for Certified Wild American Shrimp are: Vessel Grade, Shell On, and Peeled. All three standards test the product for quality, texture, freshness and flavor; also Shell On and Peeled have a standard to test for uniformity of size.
WASI has developed a training program for LTEs to assure consistent evaluation against the higher standards.