Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Picking up more Costco Wholesale organics, H Mart sale items

My Costco Wholesale in Hackensack carries two canned salmons -- wild Alaskan sold under the Bear & Wolf name from Trident Seafoods Corp., above, and Kirkland Signature Atlantic Salmon, an artificially colored farmed product from Chile, below. Trident says its salmon is not processed in China.

The farmed salmon comes in 7-ounce cans. The wild pink salmon is in 6-ounce cans. The farmed product is $14.99, compared to $12.99 for the wild fish.

Editor's note: Today, I discuss the pricing of organic food at Costco Wholesale, and whether a canned Alaskan salmon sold in the warehouse store is processed in China.


At Costco Wholesale in Hackensack today, I picked up organic extra-virgin olive oil for about $1.50 less per quart than the best buy at eight supermarkets shopped by Consumer Reports.

Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a blend from Greece, Italy, Spain and two other countries that is delicious on salads, was $15.99 for 2 liters (2 quarts and 3.6 ounces).

In the May 2015 issue, Consumer Reports found the cheapest organic extra-virgin olive oil at a southern chain, Harris Teeter, for $9.01 a quart, compared to $7.57 per quart for the Costco EVOO.

Three half-gallons of Kirkland Signature Organic 1% Milk were $9.99 or $3.33 each, compared to $3.49 a half-gallon for organic milk at Safeway, the lowest price  the magazine's shoppers found.

I also picked up Coleman Organic Chicken Drumsticks for $1.99 a pound, and 1-pound of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix for $4.99.

Among non-organic items, I bought six 6-ounce cans of Bear & Wolf Pink Salmon, a wild fish from Alaska, for $12.99.

A 3-pound bag of U.S. No. 1 sodium-free raw Almonds, which I roast at home, was $16.89, a hike of nearly $1.

The Kirkland Signature farmed salmon is artificially colored. 

Processed in China?

This blog occasionally receives comments from readers who have "heard" that food sold in the United States was raised or processed in China, which has a terrible food-safety record. 

I just got this anonymous comment:
"I wonder if you've heard that Trident salmon in cans is processed in China? I just found the product in our new Costco and was totally disappointed at fish processing being done in factories overseas. Thank you."
The apparent reference is to the canned Bear & Wolf Premium Skinless and Boneless Pink Salmon, which is labeled as "Product of USA," that I purchased today at Costco.

The canned salmon is from Trident Seafoods Corp., which is based in Seattle, Wash.

But there is no evidence in the comment, besides what the person "heard."

I sent an email to the company's Consumer Affairs Department, and got this reply from a woman named Trev Foley:
Some, but not all, of our items do have initial processing done overseas, with final processing done in Washington State. Our canned salmon items, such as the Bear & Wolf Pink Salmon, do not have overseas processing. The salmon are harvested in the Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, etc.) and canned in Alaska, within 24 hours of being caught. Please be assured, we maintain strict oversight of all of the fish we sell, from start to finish. For those items which have partial processing done overseas, the fish are processed in contracted facilities where we have on-site Trident Seafoods operations and quality assurance personnel insuring the safety of the food. Additionally, the facilities we use are inspected and certified to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
 In 2012, I opened a can of this same pink salmon from Costco, only to find mold on it. See:
Mold in Bear & Wolf canned salmon from Trident?

Coleman Organic Fresh Whole Young Chicken at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack was $2.49 a pound, meeting the lowest price for whole or cut up organic chicken at the Safeway chain in the Consumer Reports survey.

Basmati rice contains less arsenic than other kinds of rice, according to Consumer Reports. Costco Wholesale in Hackensack sells Deer-brand from "the foothills of the Himalayas" (India).

These are the shipping boxes for the low-quality but wildly popular 3-pound Kirkland Signature Rotisserie Chicken sold for $4.99 at Costco. I could not make out the name of a producer or processor on the labels of the boxes, which were behind glass in the butcher department of the Hackensack warehouse store.

At H Mart in Englewood on Sunday, half-gallons of lactose-free milk were on sale for $1.99 or $2 off through April 13, the lowest price I've ever seen for this type of milk.

The Englewood H Mart also carries Earthbound Farm Organic Celery and Organic Carrots. Olivia's Organic Spring Mix in a 5-ounce tub was on sale for $2 or $1 off when you bought two.

At the Englewood H Mart, this package of kimbap, an addictive seaweed-and-rice roll, was labeled as weighing 1 pound, but on my kitchen scale, it weighed more than 29 ounces or nearly 2 pounds. The imitation crab is made from a fish called pollock. The roll comes with pickled radish and jalapeno peppers.
On Good Friday, whole wild-caught black sea bass were $5.99 a pound at the Englewood H Mart.

A large wild whole red snapper, which my wife poached in coconut milk, was $7.99 a pound at the Korean supermarket, 25 Lafayette Ave., Englewood (201-871-8822).

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