Friday, April 16, 2010

The Great Market Harborough Counterfeit Cod Epidemic

When this story appeared in the Leicester Mercury last month I held my peace, not wanting to give bad publicity to a local business that I have been known to patronise:
In American slang, hokey means contrived or phoney.
So it was ironic that the name of the fish being sold as cod in one Leicestershire chip shop suggested it was anything but the real deal.
Hoki, a type of hake which is farmed in New Zealand and is also known as the blue grenadier, was found being served as cod by trading standards officials.
St Mary's Chippy, in St Mary's Road, Market Harborough, was caught in a sting operation by trading standards teams.
Plus, I think the journalist is the worst offender here.

But today this story appeared on the BBC News Leicestershire pages:
The owner of a Leicestershire fish and chip shop has admitted selling imported freshwater fish as cod after random DNA tests by trading standards.
River cobbler, farmed extensively in South East Asia, is frozen and sent to the UK and costs half the price of cod.
Balbir Singh Bachra, 51, of the Trident Fish Bar in High Street, Market Harborough, appeared at the town's magistrates earlier.
Is Market Harborough particularly plagued by counterfeit cod or is it a national problem? Are the county's trading standards people particularly assiduous?

Of course, it could be that DNA tests for fish are another step towards the European Fish Database of which Ben Bradshaw dreamed.


Wanda said...

As Chip Inn is owned by owned by the same people it makes one wonder whether an imposter has been secreted beneath the batter there.

Jonathan Calder said...

But is it real green tea?

dreamingspire said...

My mother, extremely knowledgeable about fish (and having told us about selling headless cod at 4/6 (old money) a stone), reckoned that cod was not fit for frying by a chippy. Haddock was the minimum acceptable. In my local chippy, the haddock is indeed exceptional.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever come across Sir Alec Jeffreys at either of these estalishments?

Paul said...

From Keri Hulme, who knows about these things: "'hoki' is pronounced 'hawk'' ' It is Macruronus novaezelandiae and is no close relation to "hake" (Merluccius australis). Neither of them are cod.