Tag Archives: Lobster

The Lobster Misdirection

By now I am sure that many of you have heard that Whole Foods is no longer going to see live lobsters. Their stated reason is that it’s unethical to keep them out of their environment for an extended length of time.

And yet…something doesn’t sound right about this. To me, this is a decision based off of the worst of information, information that comes from us anthropomorphizing an animal.

Recent information from Norwegian research has shown that Lobsters do not feel pain. Bob Bayer, who heads the Lobster Institute and is a University of Maine professor, has said that “They have no brain, he said. Therefore, they do not feel pain. It’s a judgment based on the anatomy of the nervous system. No brain (means) a lack of processing system”.

As this Norwegian report has been around since a least Feburary of 2005, Whole Foods has most likely been aware of it. So what other motivation could they possibly have in discontinuing lobster sales?

Well, possibly profit margins for one. The sale and upkeep of the lobster tank would eat into the cost of what is arguably a low turnover item. Plus the tanks take up valuable real estate in a grocery store, space that can be used to sell items with larger margins and turn over in sales quicker. The one thing grocery stores are accutely aware of is how much money a foot of space can bring into the store on a daily, quarterly and yearly basis.

Considering the fact that lobsters are still going to be sold in Whole Foods, most likely flash frozen along with hundreds of other packed together brethern. And considering that it will be most likely fish that takes over the space left empty by the departed tanks, fish that are killed by suffocation and in some instances gutted and bled whilst still alive, it’s hard for me to swallow this “ethical treatment of lobsters” argument.

tags technorati : Whole Foods Lobster Food


Food Histories and Menus

These are the internet finds that I love. Here’s an article that demonstrates how scientists are tracing the availability of species through the use of menus found in history.

It also gives a fairly interesting history of Lobster in America.

From the article:

A study of the cost of seafood on more than 200,000 American restaurant menus has revealed fluctuating prices that reflect the changing abundance of dozens of species over the past 150 years. The records show how the price, adjusted for inflation, of fish and shellfish, including lobster, swordfish, oysters, halibut, haddock and sole, has climbed as stocks have collapsed.

Lobster, for example, fetched little more than a couple of dollars a lb in the 1850s. “Prior to the 1880s, it was unusual to see lobster on menus at all except in bargain-priced lobster salad,ˮ said Glenn Jones, of Texas A&M University, who led the research.

“It was considered a trash fish — it was not something you’d want to be seen eating. In colonial America servants negotiated agreements that they would not be forced to eat lobster more than twice a week.ˮ

I find information such as this fascinating. If you’re big into Food History, this article is a good read.

Technorati Tags: Food & Drink, Food History,