Consumers are willing to pay up to double the price per pound for unfrozen fish over many comparable frozen options when they never would do so for any other product. Today we are going to take a closer look at some of the misconceptions surrounding fresh fish vs. frozen fish.
Is Fresh Fish the Healthier Option?
Many people think that the process of freezing fish causes a loss of essential nutrients, but this should not be a real consideration. In fact, the method of preparation or how you choose to cook the fish has far more of an effect on nutrient loss than the process of freezing ever could.
Is Fresh Fish Never Frozen?
Another common misconception is that fresh-caught fish means that it was never frozen, which is rarely the case. Most commercially caught fish is frozen almost immediately or hard-packed in ice in the ship’s hull to preserve freshness. Processing plants often need to thaw fish prior to processing (cutting, descaling, deboning etc.) and refreeze for transport.
Is Fresh Fish Safer?
Food safety should be a huge consideration when purchasing any product, but this is a tricky question and may vary based on location. Even certified fresh fish sold in coastal areas close to harbors may not have been caught in close proximity to their market. Bacterial contamination is a much larger concern in fresh fish that has had a long period of transport than for frozen fish transported over much longer distances.
How Do I Know the Source of My Fish?
When you are ready to buy fish for your cooking needs you need to realize that the aquaculture industry and sustainable farming practices have redefined the way that fish are brought to market. Knowing the source of your fish is easier than ever and it is possible to know the point of origin of the seafood you eat. The website for GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture certified farmed seafood: www.ggn.org is an invaluable resource that offers transparency when it comes to the chain of custody of your purchase.
How Do I Know How My Fish Was Produced?
When farmed seafood is certified with GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture, this means that all the steps on the production were verified, including the reproduction and the way they grow. These include well-being of the animals, with consideration to the environment and food safety for consumers.
Food Safety of Fresh vs. Frozen Fish
Whether it is food safety or nutrition, frozen fish does not suffer against the fresh competition in either category. However, the choice of fresh vs. frozen fish should be made on the basis of your own cooking plans. If you do not plan on immediately cooking your fish, at least within two days of purchase, a frozen fish purchase should be your first choice. Another prudent food safety measure is to prevent cross-contamination by separating uncooked fish (both fresh or frozen) from any ready-to-eat food such as produce or dairy products that may be hospitable to bacteria. When storing frozen fish, remember to wrap it tightly in plastic or tin foil to prevent contact with other foods.
No matter your ultimate decision of frozen vs. fresh fish, you have chosen one of the most nutritious meals in the grocery aisle. Enjoy your delicious fish and make it a regular part of your meal planning.