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Fish fingers production in Bremerhaven: Often more chemical ester compounds than permitted

Photo: Ingo Wagner / dpa

Whole pieces of Alaska pollock or pollock, some even certified with seals such as MSC or Naturland Wildfisch: the experts at Stiftung Warentest have little to complain about when it comes to the fish in fish fingers.

What the testers complain about: Eleven of the 19 fish fingers examined have a pollution problem, including branded products.

Similar to some chicken nuggets or veggie schnitzels, the criticized ingredients come from the oil that the manufacturers use to fry the breading.

If there are more chemical ester compounds (3-MCPD) in the fat content of the sticks examined (“test” issue 3/2024) than permitted in the EU, this will result in points being deducted.

In one case 35 percent breading

The grease pollutants cannot be completely avoided, but they can be minimized through additional oil filter systems, such as those used by test winner Frosta, write the testers.

They examined a total of eleven classic fish stick products, four fried fish sticks and four vegan alternatives.

The Frosta sticks received an overall rating of “good” and cost 8.90 euros per kilogram.

But they also only achieved a “satisfactory” (3.1) rating in the pollutants category.

In addition to the Frosta sticks, the fish fingers from the organic supplier Alnatura for 16 euros per kilogram also received an overall rating of “good”.

But why can’t more providers do this?

In addition to the pollutant problems, the eight sticks rated “satisfactory” and the nine sticks rated just “adequate” also had deficiencies in the taste (“slightly old frying fat note”) or the consistency (“hardly crispy”).

However, it was also criticized that vegan alternatives simply lacked the fishy taste.

There were deductions for the fried fish fingers because the prescribed fish content of 65 percent was not reached - the breading makes up more than 35 percent.