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What to look for when Buying Shell on Shrimp

Your senses will be the first sign of telling whether shell on shrimp are good, the appearance and smell. Chances are most of the shrimp you find other than around the coastal areas will have been previously frozen.

Shrimp that has been thawed should be consumed within a day or two for the best quality.

Most problems with low quality shrimp will occur during the harvest and processing of them. But poor handling of shell on shrimp at the retail markets will also have an effect on the quality of the shrimp.


Shrimp should be uniform in color and size. Black spots on the shell are a indication of the shrimp not being properly rinsed and iced down at the time they were caught.

Yellowing occurs when Sodium bisulfate is used in excess. It usually effects the tails and swimmerets. Yellowing will also appear on headless shrimp at the front meat part, this is usually a sign of thawed shrimp that have been thawed out to long.

Translucence is caused Sodium tripolyphosphate is used to help reduce dehydration during freezer storage. If used over the allowed amounts of a 1-2% it can add weight to the product, look for Sodium tripolyphosphate in shrimp, scallops and lobsters.

If it feels slimy when thawed this could be a sign of to much Sodium Tripolyphosphate. If you are buying frozen shrimp, scallops or lobsters in a package, the Sodium Tripolyphosphate should be listed on the ingredients label.


Shell on Shrimp will not have a strong or offensive odor. Anytime you have a off odor such as rotten egg, ammonia this will be to decomposition.

Another thing to smell for is a odor of chlorine this is used to mask the off odors of mishandled shrimp.


Shrimp will be firm and moist. Shrimp that are tough and dry are a sign of improper storage, refreezing or have been in the freezer to long. Mushy shrimp is usually caused by poor handling at the time of harvest.

Of course by the time you find this out it's to late, you have already bought and cooked the shrimp. So really pay attention to the appearance and smell when buying Shell on Shrimp.

More Shrimp Information

Cooking Shrimp
How to Cook Shrimp
Gulf Shrimp Facts


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