Hi All :-)

Basa Fish - why the prosections?

In the UK, there have been prosecutions by Trading Standard Officers because fish shops are serving basa fish.

H'm... what's wrong with basa fish?

Well, the simple answer is nothing.

It's perfectly good white fish which is very suitable for deep frying in batter.

Try it - recipes for deep frying and batter here. For any white fish recipe you can safely substitute basa fish.

So - why the prosecutions?

It's to do with the 'description' of what's being sold.

The basa fish was being sold as cod - there's a big price difference and that's why it was a problem.

In my local supermarket I found 'river cobbler' which is the UK name for basa fish.

It was breaded, so that you couldn't see what it was - no description other than 'river cobbler' and cooking instructions.

A gentleman was looking at the packs and told me that he had bought it the week before and it tasted very good - but he didn't know what it was.

It's very clever to put it in breadcrumbs as basa fish is pink in color - cod is very white.

Cod looks 'flaky' when it's raw and basa doesn't.

Once cooked though, basa becomes as white as cod and that's why the fish shops were able to get away with the substitution.

'Get away with?' That makes it sound like basa is an inferior fish - it isn't but it is cheaper than cod.

The wholesale price of basa was £5 a kilo ($8.27) and cod was £11.75 ($19.45) - and that's a huge difference.

Now, it wouldn't have mattered if the fish and chip shops had advertised 'fish' and charged less than half the price - but they were advertising 'cod' and charging the same.

That is unfair - firstly against the other outlets in the area who are using cod and charging similar prices - but also against the consumer who should be benefitting from the saving.

Basa fish (catfish, irridescent shark, river cobbler - whatever it's called in your country) is a good white fish - it's as good as any other - it tastes good, cooks well and has the same benefits.

So - the problem is 'passing off' basa as cod rather than basa being 'the problem'.

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I hope you are all well and I will be in touch again soon.

All the best



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