May 9 2011

Fish Schticks: A Tour of Fast Food Fish

Fish on Fridays by Michael Conathan

The world of fast food fish is often murky. Exactly which species lurks beneath the breading and between those sesame-seeded buns? How was it caught? Where did it come from?

These questions don’t typically arise when it comes to conversations about other fast food products. Beef is pretty much just beef. Chicken is just chicken. We don’t ask if our hens are bantams, leghorns, or Rhode Island Reds. Or whether the cow was raised in Oklahoma or Brazil. (Perhaps we should, but that’s an issue for another day and another columnist to investigate.) And while we might look for “free range” or “organic” labels at the grocery store, if we’re eating under the Golden Arches, we’ve pretty much decided to skip that particular green step.

In this week’s column we look into the fishy offerings from the top fast food chains—four breaded and fried, one popped out of a can and mixed with mayo—to find out what’s in your sandwich. We present them below with just a soupçon of sustainability criteria so that even when you’re making the decision to fund fast food nation you can at least be fully informed about how to minimize your environmental impact.

Navigating the waters of sustainable seafood seems daunting at first glance. But several organizations have worked to overcome that with easy-to-use resources for businesses and consumers. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has convenient pocket guides and a downloadable app for your mobile device. And if you don’t have an iPhone you can send Blue Ocean institute a text message containing the species of fish you’re considering and they’ll send you a quick sustainability profile.

Many corporations look to the Marine Stewardship Council, an organization that certifies fisheries around the world that meet certain sustainability standards. Where chains use MSC-certified products we’ll note that here.

So without further ado let’s peel back the breading and find out what you’re biting into when you unwrap that Filet o’… well, of what, exactly?

Read the rest of the article here.



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