The sole of Louisiana’s “boot” faces the Gulf of Mexico, a coastline that’s 7,721 miles long. Our amazing shoreline produces more than 850 million pounds of some of the best seafood in the world. In fact, nearly one-third of all seafood consumed in the United States is harvested from Louisiana waters.
Fresh-caught Louisiana seafood has the quality and flavor that both home cooks and restaurants value. Louisiana seafood is a better buy too because it is additive-free. Other seafood is often treated with preservatives that add water weight to the product, meaning you’re paying more by the pound, but getting less. Imported seafood from unregulated farms may also use antibiotics and other chemicals that are prohibited in America.
Beyond the table, Louisiana’s seafood industry is one of the state’s largest employers and plays a major role in tourism too – attracting fishermen and foodies from around the world. By choosing Louisiana seafood, you’re supporting the local economy and family-owned businesses.
So how do you make sure the seafood on your plate is Louisiana’s best?
Look for the Country of Origin Label (or COOL) when purchasing seafood. This labeling is required for all seafood sold in the U.S. Not only does the COOL tell you the country of origin, it also must state the method of production (wild-caught or farm-raised). This label must be on display where fresh seafood is sold.
Frozen seafood must have COOL information too. Sometimes it’s harder to find, so search the back of the bag to find out where your frozen catch came from. Unfortunately, the COOL labels from outside the US are often fraudulent. DNA testing found that 1 out of 3 imported seafood items were falsely labeled. If you choose Louisiana seafood, you can be sure that it’s come from the Gulf to your table.
Knowledgeable seafood sellers are a great source of information about the origin, quality and safety of their products. Get to know the person behind the counter to learn what’s fresh, what’s in season and even how to prepare your Louisiana seafood of choice.
When you’re in a restaurant, scan the menu for information about the seafood and ask your server for more details. Most restaurants are proud of the premium items on the menu and would be happy to let you know about the origin of your seafood dish.