It’s a common, legal practice to protect seafood with a layer of ice before packaging it up for retail sale. It’s also apparently a common practice to add that ice into the total weight of the seafood, and in some cases to add more ice than necessary just to bump up the total weight, which isn’t legal and which defrauds the consumer. The National Conference on Weights and Measures recently investigated seafood packaging in 17 states and pulled more than 21,000 packages of seafood from store shelves, noting that in one particularly bad case ice made up 40% of the total listed weight.
The NCWM won’t name names on which companies are the worst offenders, but a spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune that if you suspect you’re being charged for ice with your seafood purchase, you should report it to your state authority. The FDA is currently investigating the organization’s claims.