Tuesday, August 09, 2005

IQF Shrimp Warning (Instant Quick Freeze)

FP Times has just gotten message from a reader to watch out for shrimp that have are labeled as IQF (Instant Quick Freeze). We have been told this process makes them 'snotty' when they thaw out. Same reader also mentions to stay away from Tiger Shrimp and recommends you go with Gulf Shrimp.


Anonymous said...

IQF stands for Individually Quick Frozen, not Instant Quick Freeze. This is a freezing process where the product is spread out during the freezing process so that they do not clump together. The "quick" freeze means that the product is very quickly frozen to preserve texture and moisture, slow freezing causes cellular damage and would result in moisture loss (and dry chewy texture) when thawed. The IQF process is used for literally 1000s of frozen products and in my experience does not cause a product to become "snotty" (I am guessing they mean perhaps slimy).

Frozen shrimp is generally available in two forms, either IQF or frozen in blocks. Both serve the same purpose, to prolong the shelf life and provide convenience to the consumer. The advantage of IQF is that the consumer can take out the quantity needed whereas in block frozen shrimp, the entire quantity must be thawed for use.
Whether they are Gulf shrimp or tiger shrimp the freezing process is the same during process. By the way, the majority of frozen tiger shrimp (farmed shrimp) are only once frozen whereas the majority of frozen gulf shrimp are twice frozen (once on the boat, then thawed, processed, and frozen again).



Jan Polakow
Loblaw Supermarkets
The Real Canadian Superstore

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Being a person that actually worked on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico I can say you have your facts a bit twisted. Gulf shrimp when caught are placed on ice not frozen. I worked on a boat that would stay out for 3-5 days at a time and we were able to have 10,000 lbs of shrimp on ice. They were not frozen on the boat. As far as IQF goes at least here in the US it stands for Instant Quick Frozen and the shrimp are submersed into a freezing brine solution and when the end user thaws them out they are snotty or mushy however you want to say it. Tiger shrimp are from Thailand and I would not give you 2 cents for any tiger shrimp be cause the flavor is nowhere near fresh gulf shrimp.

bobgreen said...

does it really matter whether the facts of the procedure or the nomenclature used by FP are correct or not...the truth is...they are snotty and chewy and gooey or as Jan notes "slimy" (as if this is a more appropriate term, I dont know, I dont work in this industry) when thawed. Thats just sick.

Kassandra - BBWNW said...

I suggest a rountable discussion on IQF process.

Anonymous said...

I've found that when freezing fresh shrimp it is best to freeze them in water in a quart size freezer bag. This allows you to thaw smaller portions at a time, and the shrimp seem to taste better when thawed as opposed to Individually Quick Frozen shrimp.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where some of you get your facts. IQF stands for individually quick frozen. But then again I'm not from "here in the US" I'm from New Orleans. They are laid out instead of block frozen. It is 90% of the time done with the CO2 process. Hence the QUICK part. Brine freezing is standard freezing. Unless you want to explain how you possibly quick freeze a brine solution, super genius!

Negative Nancy said...

It's getting hot up in here!

Anonymous said...

Unless you catch your own, or are standing on the boat that catches them and grab a pound or two before they are frozen, just where will you get shrimp that have not been frozen. I read up on the Asian variety of farm raised shrimp, and will no longer purchase them. I would prefer my shrimp be a little "slimey" (which can pretty much be eliminated by pressing them between paper towels, than one that is filled with dangerous chemicals.

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Anonymous said...

First of all I own a shrimp trawler with an IQF(read individually quick frozen) system on board.It happens like this.
1 catch shrimp
2sort catch and feeze as you go.
3 place in freezer hold at -10 fh

The shrimp are initialy frozen in a brine solution at about 5/6 degress fh.They freeze so FAST that they stay moist retain thier original texture.Thats it, thats all of it.
|There is a BIG problem on shore with the use of tri poly phosphates.Though designed to retain moisture, if soaked long enough they can retain A LOT of moisture.When you thaw and cook tripoly product it can come back at you in any number of ways from weight loss to texture problems.The use of tri poly is not limited to shrimp,but is also becoming a problem with scallops and some fish.
If you want the best get it off the BOAT. Thanks Capn D

Anonymous said...

I'm glad everyone has boat experience as do I to. Not only that but I am involved with many restaurants, and let me give my opinion, IQF is all about money, you can stay out longer and ideally store more on the boat, but it does not retain the flavor like block shrimp. I was raised on the produces of natural Lousiana, I have tried the iqf, but yes when defrosted they are slimey, and iqf is not really double frozen, its frozen on the boat packed on the boat, and has a little time not in the freezer during deliveries. But it's all on what you prefer, but I know with experience I can take 5month frozen block shrimp and 2month IQF and the difference in flavor is dramatic and I almost gaureentee anyone would choose the block frozen shrimp.

Larry (Dutch Harbor Alaska) said...

Wow! the way the world works.

I was reading this article on the internet never expecting to gain so much information or even to discover that there was a difference of opinion on something I had taken so for granted.

I had thought IQF meant Instant Quick Frozen. I am corrected and it makes sense. IQF means Individually quick frozen.

I checked this out by googling "IQF". Specifically I went to the web-sites of retailers who probably should know what it is they are selling and they are all in agreement that IQF means Individually Quick Frozen.

As to slime, I had not known of any problem with slime particularly related to the method of processing immediately following catch. With the comments following this article, I definitely do not know which processing method causes slime. I will need to do some independent research to check this out. And I am thoroughly confused what "tiger shrimp" has to do with anything. I thought it was a particular type of shrimp before I read the article and comments. Now I do not know of the proper use of the phrase of "tiger shrimp".

This is troublesome since there have been some recent articles about food-borne illnesses coming from "tiger shrimp". Now I do not really know what "tiger shrimp" is.

While the Internet is helpful and full of information, oftentimes it is contradictory and unreliable.

This article reminded me that I should not believe all that I read or hear. Once again Mother was right.

Dutch Harbor Alaska

Anonymous said...

Reading this garbage is just another reason why the internet has become such a terrible source for accurate information. Too many opinions that are 100% WRONG and naive readers that believe the words of a few people that will still argue the FACTS even after the FACTS are clearly shoved in their face. Serious idiots!

There is NOTHING wrong with IQF Shrimp. They are tasty, safe and delicious..PERIOD! They are not "slimy" unless YOU the consumer use improper methods to thaw them. Millions of pounds of are consumed every year to the delight of millions of diners.

The shrimp you need to stay away from is the imported shrimp from China, Indonesia, Mexico, etc.. The industry there is totally unregulated and these imported shrimp are dangerous and a serious health risk. These are the FACTS! Wild caught shrimp from the USA are by far the best, safest, and highest quality whether Fresh off the boat or IQF.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I am a chef and have always felt like IQF though cheaper really taste horrible. Anyone who knows anything about shrimp will tell you that block frozen gulf shrimp are the world's BEST. In defense of Asian shrimp however, I did eat fresh caught, fresh-water prawns while I was in Thailand and almost went cross-eyed they were so good!...Then again, they weren't IQF having traveled around the world!

Anonymous said...

My whole family are shrimpers I own a seafood business I sell to the finest restaurants in Atlanta. IQF east coast shrimp are the best in the world period. Gulf shrimp are high in iodine. East coast shrimp have 7-8 foot tides versus gulf 2 foot tides. The shrimp are caught in nets, picked out of the fish. Washed. Bagged in 65 lb bags. Dipped in salt water brine tanks. (Frozen at peak of freshness) Freeze in 2 minutes. Taken out and put in Hull of boat freezer. Usually freezer boats stay out 25-30 days. When they come off boat they are the next best thing to fresh shrimp. No preservatives it chemicals!
BEST IN WORLD! PERIOD. will never eat anything I don't know where it comes from. If you don't get shrimp right off boat before chemical processing. Younare eating poison. Gulf, east coast. No matter what kind. POISON! start demanding east coast wild Georgia shrimp chemical free!

Unknown said...

Last week I bought 20 lbs of IQF, they were individually frozen, it was weird! Since I wasn't home, my husband bagged them in quart size bag portions for us and put them in freezer! Yesterday, I put 10 lbs of those shrimp in a bowl to defrost in water! They peeled so Easy! I cooked a Gumbo and it was the Best Shrimp I've ever had! Now, I've purchased fresh shrimp from an individual before, and most of them were bad! I prefer the IQF over the fresh, unless I buy it straight from the boat!

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Anonymous said...

"Instant quick frozen", dumb asx.

Anonymous said...

You can rely on the IQF technology by Octofrost™ to preserve the natural colour, shape and texture of IQF shrimps and other seafood. The Octofrost™ IQF can maintain separation without any blocks or lumps even in the case of extremely sticky shrimps, for both cooked and raw. http://www.octofrost.com/

Anonymous said...

yes they are frozen on the boat