What’s the Deal With Sodium Tripolyphosphate? 

I love seafood. I also love frozen food (it’s so easy to prepare!). Therefore, frozen seafood = happiness. However, I have to be really careful with the frozen seafood I buy. A nasty little ingredient tends to sneak it’s way inside many name brands– Sodium Tripolyphosphate.

What the heck is that?

Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP) is a compound added to seafood in order to preserve moisture. It is used in over 90% of packaged shrimp and seafood. Here’s the sketchy part: it’s also used in detergents, antifreeze, and flame retardants.

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So, what’s the big deal?

Well, if the fact that STPP is used in flame retardants isn’t alarming enough, this might be– the compound is classified as an insecticide, and it’s legally registered as both a pesticide and air contaminant. It is known to cause skin irritation, be toxic to the lungs, and cause organ damage. Yet, the FDA still sees it as “generally” safe. Hmmm…how is it that something known to be toxic can be okay to eat? Truth is, it isn’t.

Another health concern is that STPP acts as a “binding agent,” keeping the fish from flaking. Since it changes how the fish looks, it can trick consumers into buying spoiled fish. And, as you know, consuming spoiled foods has a high potential for causing illness.

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Even if you don’t believe any of this, it still rips us off.

Since STPP is used to preserve moisture, it results in excess water within the fish. When overused by fisheries, the portion size of the food is actually much smaller than it appears. Once you cook the food, it will become much smaller. So, you are paying for more food, but actually receiving less. Not. Cool. Do you know how much Starbucks you could buy with all that money you’re wasting?!

Avoid STPP!!!

STPP is all sorts of terrible. When buying frozen seafood, ALWAYS look at the ingredients list, and don’t buy it if you see STPP! Luckily, I’ve found some salmon without the ingredient. However, all the shrimp I have found at the store has it 😦 That’s why I bought scallops last week on WIAW! (It was supposed to be a shrimp dish) I’ll keep searching, though!

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As for purchasing fresh seafood, only buy scallops and shrimp labeled as “dry.” That means that it doesn’t have STPP. If you see “wet,” turn around and run away. That’s a red flag!!

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree 100%… it’s hard to keep up with all of the stuff you are and aren’t supposed to eat. But, avoiding things like STPP keeps you healthy! Be sure to take your health into your own hands and be conscious of what you eat!

How about you?

  • How do you purchase your seafood– fresh or frozen?
  • Any food additives that you stay away from at all costs?
  • What do you have going on this week?
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