While Maine lobster sales totaled $290 million 2005, the Maine Lobster Promotion Council claims it lost $44 million to the langostino market, and U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has taken the case to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Portland (Maine) Herald reported.
"Permitting this inferior product to be improperly marketed as 'lobster' not only pollutes consumers' appetite for real lobster but it also exposes consumers who suffer from certain allergies to potentially life-threatening allergic reactions," Snowe wrote to acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.
Kristen Millar, executive director of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council, told the Herald "langostino" is Spanish for prawn, leading to the contradictory name "shrimp lobster."
However, scientists aren't helping the Maine uproar over langostinos.
"I think it is defined as a lobster," said Bob Bayer, executive director of the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine. "It's a clawed lobster."