Fish fillets sold in French-speaking Switzerland are inflated with water – rts.ch
A test conducted by the RTS program A Bon Entendeur reveals the presence of added water in fish fillets sold in French-speaking Switzerland. The liquid can then represent more than 40% of the mass of the fillets in question. Additives allow this water to stay inside the flesh.
Adding water to fish before putting it on sale: the practice is obviously common. A test by the RTS program A Bon Entendeur reveals the presence of artificially added water in six out of twenty fish fillets purchased frozen in supermarkets and in small shops in French-speaking Switzerland.
Up to 46% of total net weight
These water additions can be massive. In one case, the water reaches 46% of the total weight of the net, and in two other cases, this addition is around 40%. Some producers also add additives to retain this water inside the flesh of the fish.
“There, clearly, we pay the price of fish for a good quantity of water”, reacts Yann Berger, cantonal chemist from Neuchâtel. “Adding water to fish is not forbidden and it is true that additives are generally still added. But this must be clearly mentioned in the composition of the product.” Only packaging informed the consumer correctly. In the other five cases, the information was false or completely missing.
Manufacturers in the fish industry regularly use this soaking technique, which consists of adding water to the fish before freezing it, either by soaking it, or by injecting water directly into the fillet. “If there really was soaking of the product, it should be indicated that we are dealing with a fish preparation that contains water”, specifies Yann Berger.
Too little fish in the package
The test also showed that in eight cases out of twenty, the quantity of fish actually sold was less than what was displayed on the package. This difference reaches up to 13% of the weight listed on the label. In this specific case, the tolerance margin is 3%, specifies the cantonal chemist from Neuchâtel. And the latter to add, however: “The official measurements are made on several samples, because a lower weight may be authorized, but on average it must respect the law.”
Stephane Fontanet/Linda Bourget
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