Tasteless Smoke Seafood: The Scary Truth

August 21, 2019

Tasteless Smoke Seafood: The Scary Truth

If you’ve recently purchased seafood from the grocery store, you may have noticed the phrase “tasteless smoke seafood” on packaging and product labels. Touted as a “safe and wholesome frozen product” by the National Fisheries Institute, tasteless or filtered smoke uses carbon dioxide to preserve the colour of frozen seafood so that it’s more appealing to consumers.

We’re not kidding, folks… carbon dioxide! What’s even more shocking is that it’s FDA-recognized and approved! How is this allowed? Well it’s all because of a tiny technicality. Let us explain…


Health Canada recently created a policy that prohibits the use of chemical manipulation of a product to make it appear fresher than it actually is. Although this may seem like great news for consumers, this new policy posed quite the conundrum for many seafood companies.

Here’s why! Fresh seafood – especially tuna – degrades and perishes at a faster rate than most other foods. In order to ship seafood and maintain its freshness, it needs to be frozen. There’s just one issue… tuna browns after it’s been frozen! So although its freshness is preserved, its colour darkens to an unappetizing brownish tinge.

Now here’s where that tiny technicality comes into play. Up until Health Canada’s new policy, seafood companies were able to use chemical additives to keep product looking fresher longer. To prevent a drop in tuna sales, a group of lawyers were able to uncover a loophole that allowed seafood companies to continue to use chemical manipulation to make tuna and seafood appear fresher than it is. This is under the guise of – you guessed it – the term “tasteless smoke”. Because there’s nothing wrong with smoked fish right?

Well the truth of the matter is that adding this tasteless smoke to tuna and other seafood is a flat-out manipulation of the meat. CO2 is pumped directly into fish to attain an illusion of freshness. In essence, tasteless smoke maintains the colour, NOT the freshness of a product! It’s a clear violation of food treatment in Canada. Worse yet, tasteless smoke seafood could be past its best before date and you would have no way of knowing because it still looks fresh.


Don’t be tricked into purchasing tuna that’s been treated with tasteless smoke! Here are three things to know in order to avoid CO2 pumped seafood:

  1. Fresh is hard to manipulate! Take the time to recognize how fresh seafood looks and feels.
  2. Tasteless smoke tuna is often a vibrant, glowing and plastic looking red with a translucent glow. Real, fresh tuna is not as richly pigmented.
  3. FRESH comes at a higher cost… but it’s worth the value. Grocery stores must sell fresh seafood within one week or it goes bad. This is why fresh, untreated tuna comes in at a higher price point. Here’s the question you need to consider: would you rather pay less for chemically pumped frozen tuna with a shelf life of up to two years?!

Here at Seafood Crate, we don’t have to rely on chemicals to provide “fresh seafood” because we go straight to the source. Our tuna is wild caught, flown directly to our Seafood Crate headquarters and then delivered to your front door. Now THAT’S fresh.

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