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Cooked lobster tail, vacuum packed. Photo by: John van Herwijnen

There are about 24 major fishing companies with own steel hull vessels for lobster. These companies have their own primary processing (beheading and freezing) facilities. Moreover, they even have the possibility to add polyphosphates during processing. This treatment gives a weight gain of only 3-5%. One can see it on the neck of the tail: if the meat ‘falls’ out, it has probably been treated. Moreover, it should be mentioned on the labels and the export documents. At arrival at the ports, the cargo is brought to their private processing plants (like Pesqueira Maguary) or traded to other companies with processing plants. In these processing plants, the lobster (tails) are being graded, individually wrapped and packed in 10 lbs inner boxes with a master carton of 4 inner boxes for export purposes to United States, Europe, Middle East and Japan. The smaller artisanal boats bring the lobster on shore alive and they sell the product to bigger processing companies or to the local market. As the steel hull vessels cover the demand of tails, these lobsters are normally cooked whole and frozen or sold fresh to the local Brazilian market like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The whole cooked lobsters are usually packed in 22 lbs master for the United States market. Chemical treatment of whole lobster is not possible.