Red Lobster’s “Maine Lobster”…NOT!
I just wanted to voice a concern about an advertisement of Maine Lobster. I again just saw the Red Lobster commercial depicting them as selling Maine lobster. The most recent commercial even portrays Maine lobstermen on it.
I have boycotted this business for the past few years after eating at two separate Red Lobsters while on vacation in Florida because every lobster I saw there had “product of Canada” bands on the claws…..
Reprinted in shortened form from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association newsletter, April 2012.
Another letter in the same issue is from Mainers who took a Carnival cruise out of Florida and were served “Maine lobsters” without claws! Clawless lobster species are from warmer waters and could be a number of other lobster species, but not Homarus americanus, our north American lobster. Why should we care about whether a lobster is from Maine or not?
First, let’s hear from Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Corporation:
….we are also the largest buyer and promoter of North American lobster in the world.In order to meet our annual usage needs, we must source North American lobster from both the United States and Canada. The term “Maine lobster” is commonly used interchangeably with North American lobster and Atlantic lobster. The USFDA also refers to the Homarus americanus species as “Maine Lobster”. Given that “Maine Lobster” is the most recognized and accepted term among consumers, that is the term we use.
Directer of Communications
Darden Corporation, Orlando, FL
Also reprinted in shortened form from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association newsletter, April 2012.
The industrious journalists at MLA did some research and found Mr. Jeffer’s claim to be wanting; the FDA uses the word “lobster” as the “Acceptable Market Name” and “American lobster” as the Scientific common name. In fact, according to the FDA you can legally use the word “lobster” to describe Homarus gammarus, the European lobster. The word “Maine” was not mentioned anywhere. When Melissa Waterman from MLA wrote back to Mr. Jeffers with these observations, she got no response by press time.
So why should we care about this? After all, New Brunswick lobster is every bit as good as Maine lobster…probably. Why then would Red Lobster find it necessary to attach the Maine brand to Canadian lobster? Why would Carnival try to pass off spiny lobster as Homarus americanus? Could it be our reputation for clean cool waters? Our remarkable sustainable fishery? Or maybe they just want to evoke happy memories of that last time you came to Maine. I’m not advocating a boycott of anyone, no one wants a collapse of the lobster market, but a few words to the manager of your favorite lobster restaurant might be in order.
Excuse me, I need to go dig in my garden for a few Idaho potatoes and stop in my greenhouse to water my Florida oranges and prune my Georgia peach tree.