‘Supermarket fresh’ fish means 3 weeks old and rotting

18 November 2013

There’s something fishy going on at the big supermarkets – they’re selling fish (billed as ‘fresh’) that was caught up to three weeks ago and is on the verge of going off.

rotting fish

That’s according to a well-respected ‘fish technician’, who analysed fish from major supermarkets and rated them on a scale of YUM to PONG. The big four supermarkets were all offering fish that was just on the verge of stinking the place out.

‘It’s resoundingly disappointing’ said Michaela Archer from Seafresh, who measured the fish’s freshness using the ‘Torry Sensory Assessment Scheme’ (which appears to involve smelling it and saying ‘Urrrgh! Smells like FISH!’)

‘The results show that 66 per cent — all but two of the supermarket samples — were at or below the level of consumer acceptability.’ Said Michaela.

On the scale, 2 is off and 10 is fresh. Tesco scored a dismal 5/10 for cod and 7 for plaice and salmon. Best for fresh salmon was Asda with 8/10. Get your fish from a fishmonger however, and the chances of it having jumped out of the sea and onto your plate get immediately higher – cod scored 9/10 and plaice and salmon were 8/10.

So next time you fancy a nice bit of fish, get down to your jolly neighbourhood fishmonger instead of your jolly fake Morrison's fishmonger. Unless you enjoy slimy, rotting cod, in which case, knock yourself out...


  • Dick
    66% - all but two of the supermarket samples .... So they had a huge sample of six fish across all supermarkets. That sounds like a reliable survey.
  • Neal
    Dick Yes I thought that, and wanted to shout. Then I found the source. It was 15 samples, 12 of which were from supermarkets and 3 from independent fishmonger. So the sums do work out. But still the ridiculously small sample (esp the single independent shop - how did they choose it?) means the results are very suspect.
  • Kevin
    Or buy frozen. It could be months old but it's still 'fresh'.

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