Living on a great big island surrounded by the sea, I had always assumed the fish sold in Australia would be, well, Australian. If not Australian, perhaps from neighbouring New Zealand?
I was horrified in my local supermarket (the photos are from Coles, but Woolworths was a similar story) to look at the frozen fish on offer – I couldn’t find a single offering of Australian or New Zealand fish! It was also quite hard to even see the origin, as it seemed to be almost hidden on the labelling.
The one pack that had New Zealand fish was “made” in China. I want to eat local fish – and if it’s being shipped halfway around the world (and back) to be “made”, that raises a lot of questions in my mind about the manufacturing process, freshness, control and quality.
The fish in the photo are labelled as being from (or made in) Vietnam, Malaysia, China – or more worryingly just “from local and imported ingredients”. For all the good that last label does, perhaps the local ingredient is the packaging they come in – and imported could mean absolutely anywhere!
Fish is something I’m particularly concerned to source well. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, record levels of radiation have been found in local sea life. I just don’t want to eat food that might contain radio active material. A reasonable request?
There are also issues around differing mercury levels in different oceans – and the whole argument around farmed fish and sustainable fish. It is really important to know exactly what you are eating and where it is from.
Ideally we would all catch our own fish, or failing that go to a fish market or monger. But unfortunately, sometimes we’re busy working and need to rely on other sources for our food. For something as simple as fish, I would love to be able to buy local, in my local store – and to be confident about it’s origin, freshness and past!
I’d love to know where you get your fish – and if you’d ever buy frozen? Does the source of your fish worry you, as much as it does me?