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Prepackaged meat/seafood weight discrepancy

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  • Dec 16th, 2019 3:22 pm
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[OP]
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Prepackaged meat/seafood weight discrepancy

Getting scammed by your butcher or fishmonger based on its weight is nothing new. But how much do you trust your local grocery store?

I buy my meat and sashimi and I've always wondered if it actually weighs what it says it weighs. Today, I tried to find out. I bought some take out prepackaged salmon and yellow tail sashimi from a local supermarket. I won't mention its name (don't wanna be sued).

Salmon Sashimi
- Label weight is 0.500 lbs (about 227 g).
- Actual fish weight is 167g (74% of 227g)
- Entire package (Plastic container including tray and lid, plastic soy sauce tray, soy sauce package, wasabi package, the white absorbent pad, one slice of lemon, and the actual fish) = 228 g

Yellowtail sashimi
- Label weight is 0.380 lbs (about 173g)
- Actual fish weight 128g (74% of 173g)
- Entire package (like above) = 231g <----- EDIT: This might have been off, as others have pointed out (possibly as I was copying numbers wrong from the scale to my computer. I forget. Memory tells me it should have been around 173 but slightly over.)

I feel quite cheated. 26% less is quite a big difference.

I will attempt to do the same to different stores on various products (steaks, etc).
Last edited by LKane1 on Dec 16th, 2019 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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17 replies
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LKane1 wrote: I buy my meat and sashimi and I've always wondered if it actually weighs what it says it weighs. Today, I tried to find out. I bought some take out prepackaged salmon and yellow tail sashimi from a local supermarket. I won't mention its name (don't wanna be sued).
If your allegations can be proven correct then you won't get sued.

It's interesting that in both samples the error was the same, i.e. 26% less. That suggests that the store's scales need recalibration/recertification. Perhaps report them to Measurement Canada?
I will attempt to do the same to different stores on various products (steaks, etc).
Keep us apprised. Keep good records. If you find this is widespread then contact the media, e.g. CBC Go Public or Marketplace.
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LKane1 wrote: Getting scammed by your butcher or fishmonger based on its weight is nothing new. But how much do you trust your local grocery store?

I buy my meat and sashimi and I've always wondered if it actually weighs what it says it weighs. Today, I tried to find out. I bought some take out prepackaged salmon and yellow tail sashimi from a local supermarket. I won't mention its name (don't wanna be sued).

Salmon Sashimi
- Label weight is 0.500 lbs (about 227 g).
- Actual fish weight is 167g (74% of 227g)
- Entire package (Plastic container including tray and lid, plastic soy sauce tray, soy sauce package, wasabi package, the white absorbent pad, one slice of lemon, and the actual fish) = 228 g

Yellowtail sashimi
- Label weight is 0.380 lbs (about 173g)
- Actual fish weight 128g (74% of 173g)
- Entire package (like above) = 231g

I feel quite cheated. 26% less is quite a big difference.

I will attempt to do the same to different stores on various products (steaks, etc).
Wait... You eat raw fish from a grocery store?

Btw stores also scam by selling you cheaper fish than advertised.
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Nov 22, 2015
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engineered wrote: Wait... You eat raw fish from a grocery store?

Btw stores also scam by selling you cheaper fish than advertised.
I'm guessing it came from the sushi stand?
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engineered wrote: Wait... You eat raw fish from a grocery store?
That was my reaction too. If you're going to DIY sushi at home, always buy the fish from the same places the sushi bars get theirs, or at least from a trusted fishmonger. Expect to pay handsomely for the freshness and pedigree.
Btw stores also scam by selling you cheaper fish than advertised.
Excellent point. Something that's become quite prevalent, e.g. 'Seafood fraud' widespread in Canada, says ocean advocacy group and Tackling seafood fraud.
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engineered wrote: Wait... You eat raw fish from a grocery store?

Btw stores also scam by selling you cheaper fish than advertised.
Yes Any Asian grocery store has sashimi and sushi section in the store, like t&t, galleria, or special ones like taro's fish. You've never heard of those?
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LKane1 wrote: Yes Any Asian grocery store has sashimi and sushi section in the store, like t&t, galleria, or special ones like taro's fish. You've never heard of those?
No one's disputing that. The issues are (a) freshness and getting what you're paying for (b) correct species and (c) accurate weight.
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bylo wrote: No one's disputing that. The issues are (a) freshness and getting what you're paying for (b) correct species and (c) accurate weight.
Well by asking that question, he was, actually. Quite condescendingly too, I felt.
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LKane1 wrote: Yes Any Asian grocery store has sashimi and sushi section in the store, like t&t, galleria, or special ones like taro's fish. You've never heard of those?
If you trust it, that's fine, especially from the specialty ones like Taro's. I wouldn't trust any prepared sushi/shashimi from regular grocery stores (ie. Metro, Sobeys) and I'm not sure I would trust their fish selection to each raw.
Also, if they're scamming you on the weight, I wouldn't be surprised if they would scam you on the freshness or fish type as well.
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bylo wrote: It's interesting that in both samples the error was the same, i.e. 26% less. That suggests that the store's scales need recalibration/recertification. Perhaps report them to Measurement Canada?
I'm not sure their scales are out because the whole package weighs in correctly.
Same concept as 900g of wings with 300g of wings and 600g of sauce.

Still though... that's crooked and I'd report them anyways. Maybe they might find something else.
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engineered wrote: If you trust it, that's fine, especially from the specialty ones like Taro's. I wouldn't trust any prepared sushi/shashimi from regular grocery stores (ie. Metro, Sobeys) and I'm not sure I would trust their fish selection to each raw.
Also, if they're scamming you on the weight, I wouldn't be surprised if they would scam you on the freshness or fish type as well.
Lol you're joking right? I could understand not trusting some gas station sushi but Metro and Sobeys are huge upper end chains. They're not going to scam you. Their sushi is pretty decent for the price. I've been buying it once a month for years, never had an issue.
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bylo wrote: If your allegations can be proven correct then you won't get sued.

It's interesting that in both samples the error was the same, i.e. 26% less. That suggests that the store's scales need recalibration/recertification. Perhaps report them to Measurement Canada?
Keep us apprised. Keep good records. If you find this is widespread then contact the media, e.g. CBC Go Public or Marketplace.
I think it could be just a coincidence that they both weigh in at 26% less. The whole package is roughly the labeled weight, but my scale isn't necessarily the best so there's still a margin of error of a couple grams probably. But I think the fact remains that there was quite a huge difference.
death_hawk wrote: I'm not sure their scales are out because the whole package weighs in correctly.
Same concept as 900g of wings with 300g of wings and 600g of sauce.

Still though... that's crooked and I'd report them anyways. Maybe they might find something else.
LOL that's more like buying sauce with a side of wings (I know you're just stating an example heh). I have noticed the costco wings will say 2kg in package but 1.6kg of wings and 400g of sauce, but at least that was stated.

Thank you all for the replies. Will update if I do more weighing.
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Hindenburg1 wrote: Lol you're joking right? I could understand not trusting some gas station sushi but Metro and Sobeys are huge upper end chains. They're not going to scam you. Their sushi is pretty decent for the price. I've been buying it once a month for years, never had an issue.
Maybe I'm picky, but I prefer my sushi prepared just before I eat it, not sitting in a package all day. I also don't find it to be a great deal cheaper that a Sushi restaurant.

We already know the big stores scam us on the type of fish claimed (see link someone else posted above), so why would they stop there? OP already showed us that he's being scammed on the weight.
It also doesn't have to be coming from up top, local manager may be doing it against policy.
LKane1 wrote: I think it could be just a coincidence that they both weigh in at 26% less. The whole package is roughly the labeled weight, but my scale isn't necessarily the best so there's still a margin of error of a couple grams probably. But I think the fact remains that there was quite a huge difference.
Sounds like the scam is that they weigh it in the package, not before. If questioned they'd probably say "oops, sorry". Of course it could just be a poorly trained employee.
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engineered wrote: Maybe I'm picky, but I prefer my sushi prepared just before I eat it, not sitting in a package all day. I also don't find it to be a great deal cheaper that a Sushi restaurant.
+1
Sounds like the scam is that they weigh it in the package, not before. If questioned they'd probably say "oops, sorry". Of course it could just be a poorly trained employee.
Somewhat related. Packaged food is loaded with sugar and salt in part because people crave it. But another reason why food manufacturers like to use it is that these two substances are among the cheapest ingredients by weight that they can add. So when they create a more processed version of some food by adding more sugar and salt, they win in at least three ways:
1. It tastes better, or at least more people think so.
2. It's cheaper to manufacture.
3. They can charge more for it.
[4. People get inured to sugar and salt such that they need more and more just to get the same taste. This leads to positive feedback loop on 1. to 3. hence even more profit.]

I suspect packaged sushi is marketed in much the same way. You're paying extra for a lower quality product just for the convenience of
1. Picking it up at the store ready-made.
2. The extras like gari, [usually fake] wasabi and green [colour not envirionment-friendly!] plastic "garnish" are included.

And of course most people who pick up ready-made sushi at the store have probably never tasted the really fresh stuff prepared by an expert at a good sushi bar so they don't know what they're missing.

P.S. Another reason to Know-Your-Itamae [KYI™]: Fake fish: Study finds nearly half of sushi served at restaurants is mislabelled
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death_hawk wrote: I'm not sure their scales are out because the whole package weighs in correctly.
Yabbut OP reported, "Yellowtail sashimi
- Label weight is 0.380 lbs (about 173g)
- Actual fish weight 128g (74% of 173g)
- Entire package (like above) = 231g"
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bylo wrote: Yabbut OP reported, "Yellowtail sashimi
- Label weight is 0.380 lbs (about 173g)
- Actual fish weight 128g (74% of 173g)
- Entire package (like above) = 231g"
Right... I only read the first one. Ooops.
Still I'm not sure it's the scales but their procedure.
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death_hawk wrote: Right... I only read the first one. Ooops.
Still I'm not sure it's the scales but their procedure.
Actually now that you guys mentioned it, I might have been wrong in that one.. Memory tells me it might have been closer to 173 but slightly over. My mistake.. I find it hard to believe that the container and misc stuff is that heavy in this one compared to the previous one. I will make an edit on that one. Thanks for pointing that out.

The weight of the fish itself was for sure correct.
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