It’s a little-known fact that there is scant oversight of seafood. Falling as it does under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Association, seafood does not have to adhere to the strict guidelines and certification processes applied to other foods. Add to that the drop in consumer confidence since the BP oil spill, and you have a problem.
So wholesaler Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co. has partnered with California-based Micro Analytical Systems to come up with a solution: testing every piece of seafood they sell. They call the new program Safe Harbor.
“The goal is to make Las Vegas the safest city for consuming seafood,” says Micro Analytical Systems spokesman Michael Gilmartin. “Over 36 million visitors consume seafood in shrimp cocktails, seafood buffets, sushi restaurants and Michelin-star restaurants. In light of all the challenges to seafood in the last few years, Safe Harbor can help bring consumers back to seafood.”
Each piece of seafood has a micro sample taken, which is tested for mercury levels, pathogens and other fish-specific microbial diseases. (Shellfish are tested in batches.) If it passes, it is marked with the specific area where it was farmed or caught—important knowledge for chefs concerned with sustainability.
Local restaurants have already joined the program, including N9NE Steakhouse, Table 34 and AquaKnox, as has grocery store Glazier’s. Safe Harbor only adds a few pennies per pound to the cost, Gilmartin says.