John Maher:  Hi! I’m John Maher. Today, I’m here with Steve Woodman, co‑CEO of Woodman’s of Essex in Essex on the North shore of Massachusetts. Today, we’re talking about fresh seafood, food laws, and seafood safety. Welcome Steve.

Steve Woodman:  Thank you for having me John.

Is seafood safe to eat?

John:  Sure. Steve, is seafood safe to eat?

Steve:  Of course, it is.

John:  We hear a lot of, in the news sometimes, about seafood and other types of meat…Is seafood safer now than it was years ago?

Steve:  I would say it is. There’s been a lot of changes in the seafood business. Refrigeration, the way to keep things cold when they catch them, how fast they put them into refrigeration right on the boats, with using salt water ice which keeps it better than fresh water ice. Some of the boats even have their own plants, if you want frozen fish. They actually freeze them right after they catch them.

John:  They can do that right on the boat. They have refrigerators right there, freezers…

Steve:  Right.

John:  …so that the fish comes out of the water, they catch it, cut it up, put it right into the freezer. When you think of frozen food, you think of something as being not very fresh but when it gets frozen immediately after it comes out of the water, it’s still pretty fresh.

Steve:  Right. Technologies that they have now are just phenomenal when it comes to that aspect of it. A nice piece of fresh fish — you can’t get any better than that. It’s just really delicious.

Waters Where Seafood is From

John:  What about knowing what waters the seafood is from? Is that something that’s tracked more now than it was years ago?

Steve:  Generally, that’s probably more with the shell‑fishing than the regular fish that are being caught.

John:  OK.

Steve:  But yeah, there are more regulations. The tracking that you have of all your shellfish and all your fish now, it comes into play. I can get fish delivered to me or shellfish delivered to me, and I can look at the can or the box, look at the markings, and be able to look up and I can find out exactly when it was dug and where it was dug, and they have that history of that right now.

You know where everything is being harvested. You have the tracking aspects. You know the refrigeration is better. So you’re getting product that is actually fresher than it used to be years ago.

John:  That means…That, in combination with better transportation that we have now, means you can actually get fresh fish from further away. Whereas, it used to be that the only fresh fish you could get would be the fish that was locally caught. But you can get fresh fish from other places now and have it still be fresh by the time it’s served at your restaurant.

Steve:  Right. You can fly fish, shellfish in overnight from almost anywhere. They fly it in so it can come in overnight just like a package, an overnight delivery. They can do the same thing with fresh seafood.

John:  So even though some place might be hundreds of miles away, you can get it the very next day after it’s caught and it’s still quite fresh. So you can get it in from…import that fish, if you will, from someplace else but have it still be caught just yesterday.

Steve:  Exactly. It could even be more than a couple hundred miles away. It could be a thousand miles away or more.

Seafood Vs. Other Meats

John:  Right. The health and safety of seafood is sometimes in the news. Can you talk about the relative safety of seafood versus other meats?

Steve:  Yeah. The idea of the safety…Like I said, the refrigeration, the quality controls, actually the labs that a lot of these fish producers and plants have right on site, they have state inspectors right in their facility with them to make sure everything is clean, and everything is fresh and working fine.

You have that quality check over them all the time. It’s a lot safer now than it was years ago when you didn’t even know maybe where the fish was or how long it was out in the boat, whatever it was, how long it was left out in the sun. Basically, you don’t really have to worry about that right now. Everything is done so good now, and kept track of, that the product comes in and it’s fresh.

Health Benefits of Seafood

John:  What about the health benefits of seafood as opposed to chicken or red meat?

Steve:  Fish is one of the best proteins out there for you. It’s clean. There’s hardly any fat with it. It’s pure. There’s a reason why doctors say you should be eating fish probably at least twice a week. It’s good for you. It not only tastes good, it’s actually good for you.

John:  Great information and a good reminder for us. Steve, thanks very much for speaking with me.

Steve:  Thank you. Glad to be here.

John:  For more information, you can visit the Woodman’s website at or call 978‑768‑6451.

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