Ben Adams, Jr.

A look at the international seafood trade and the cold supply chain

There’s no denying that ours is a global economy, and that, by and large is a good thing. In addition to the competition it fosters— keeping prices low and quality high— the world needs products the United States produces (principally food) and U.S. consumers “want” many of the products produced outside our borders.

Take seafood, for example. According to, a website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. imports an astonishing 91 percent of its seafood! Imported seafood, farmed or wild-caught, has to remain “on ice” or frozen from the time it’s packaged halfway around the world until the time it’s cooked here to prevent illnesses. Seafood is an excellent example of the global reach and technological advancements within the food supply cold chain.

To illustrate the international seafood trade, Adams Cold Storage warehouses (for various lengths of time), frozen products in 25- and 50-pound cases from dominant seafood-producing regions such as South America, Newfoundland, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam. These products include grouper, swai (a white-flesh fish similar in character to catfish), basa, crab, shrimp, flounder, and lobster tail to name a few. Typically, these products go from our facility to food distributors— including Sysco, Gordon Food Service, Cheney Brothers, Restaurant Depot— which distribute the seafood to regional restaurants and other large-scale food-service operations.

In next month’s column, we’ll discuss how Asian-produced seafood gets from there to here and the important— and interesting— steps that are taken to make sure it’s fresh and good for us to eat at our favorite restaurant or even our own dinner table.


column by BEN ADAMS, JR.

BIO: Ben Adams Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage LLC in Auburndale. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support, since 1980. His facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multi-temperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion project currently under way.

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