Monday, January 14, 2013

Fish Sticks (& small mammals)

Keep these away from me, thanx

So I recently had an eye-opening revelation which I had never really thought about before, regarding a certain processed fish-based food-product.  Fish sticks, you would think they are simply "pieces of fish" that are breaded and fried, right?  Well, unfortunately there is more to fish sticks than just that.  Basically, almost all fish are infested with parasitic worms--some more than others.  Certain species of fish in particular are characteristically infested with worms, Cod and Halibut (including other bottom feeders) are two of many such species which come to mind.  I doubt you will ever see "Cod sushi" due to this fact, but that's not to say it isn't impossible.

The story is essentially this: fishermen catch boatloads of Cod (or other) fish, and have them "cleaned / gutted" coming to realize the guts of the fish are full of worms, but not just the guts--the muscles and flesh are also riddled with small parasitic worms as well.  Fishmongers realized that although the worms are supposedly safe for eating (after being cooked), consumers would probably lose their appetite being given Cod fillets full of worms (with good reason).  So they came up with the idea that if you throw the infested fish meat into a grinder and grind up the worms with the meat, the processed fish could be battered, and turned into deliciously "safe" fish sticks--and the consumer would be none the wiser.

Who knew this was the case?  I didn't.  It makes sense but now I'm just a little grossed out--though I'm not one to eat fish sticks aside from Cod-based "fish 'n chips" which is likely also infested given that the meat is hidden from sight within a thick coating of batter.  Will this new found knowledge stop me from eating Cod?  Probably not but this information will likely be in the back of mind forever now.

For anecdotal evidence from fishing enthusiasts see:

Now for anyone who had the displeasure of enduring that disgusting revelation, here is something to cleanse your mind.

Pictured above is the Etruscan Shrew, the smallest mammal in the world (by weight).  It lives in a wide-spread region spanning Eurasia and parts of Africa.  This shrew gets to be around 2 inches in length and weighs 2 grams on average.  They have a high metabolism and will eat around 4 grams of bugs throughout an entire day, everyday.

It's pretty amazing to think that such small creatures have complete vascular systems with a full set of internal organs within a tiny skeleton in such a small size scale.  Given that these shrews weigh 2 grams, the shrew's heart must be smaller than a pin-head--it's crazy to think that something that small is pumping the shrew's entire blood supply which also must be a tiny incomprehensible volume as well.  I'm having a hard time pondering it.

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