Trader Joe’s & Sous Vide Cooking; Don’t Do It!

Trader Joe’s has quite a few relatively high quality, often deliciously pre-marinated, foods vacuum packed and frozen in convenient plastic pouches.

Not surprisingly, I’ve seen it come up in a number of Sous-Vide cooking forums that said pouches are wonderful for water bath cooking; simply pop them in the water bath at the desired temperature and be done with it.

I even tried it myself with some tuna the other night. It was a pasteurization level cook, so the end result was closer to flaky cooked than red-raw tuna, but was otherwise delicious.

However, I — and others — have wondered if the wrapping Trader Joe’s uses is Sous-Vide safe. So, I contacted customer service and asked:

Is your vacuum packed frozen fish sealed in bags that can
handle sous-vide water bath cooking (i.e. a cooking bat at ~140 degrees

Given the growing popularity of sous vide cooking and the unbelievable
convenience/quality of your fish products, it would be helpful to mark
packages that can handle SV cooking.

The response from customer service:

Thank you for your inquiry. The packaging used for our frozen fish are
not approved for this cooking method. We do advise removing all
packaging before any cooking method.

Unfortunate, but it is what it is. I suspect this is more of a CYA response than an actual statement of cooking method incompatibility, but I’m not going to risk it. Nor will I assume that any of the meats (they have beautiful pre-seasoned frozen vacuum packed rack of lamb, for example) is safe, either.

I’m going to write a followup letter to Trader Joe’s corporate asking them to re-consider.

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2 Responses to “Trader Joe’s & Sous Vide Cooking; Don’t Do It!”

  1. Justin says:

    Oh, dude, I was hoping to see that you’d gone ahead and sous-vided some burgundy lamb-tips.

  2. John C. Randolph says:

    If they can just tell you what plastic they’re using, you should be able to look up the manufacturers’ specs on outgassing at various temperatures.

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