Is this fresh tuna or just artificially coloured?

How to know the difference

When we talk about fresh tuna we are alluding to those pieces that hace not been frozen, coloured nor treated. Large companies prefer to undertake processing methods to make tuna look nicer, nevertheless, it often can suppose a risk to the consumers’ health and wellbeing.

We can, of course, recognise the tuna quality with only our tasting buds however, can we distinguish a fresh piece from a processed one just by looking at it?

The answer is yes.

If you want to make sure you are buying fresh tuna, the first thing to look at is its labelling. Look for the number of LTA/AWB attached to the package, because a fish who is transported by plane is almost certainly certified fresh. Also, if we look closely, we can appreciate that a treated piece of tuna has small traces of injections and needles at the cut. You better avoid those!

Furthermore, if we want to differentiate a fresh piece from a processed one and we cannot take a look at the labelling or we cannot examine closely looking for said needle signs, we can look at its pricing.

treated tuna chunk

Normally, processed tuna prices vary according to where in the world we are buying it. In the Italian market, a piece of tuna can be sold from 6,50€ per kilogram and it can rise up to 15€ in the British, Dutch and French markets. In the case of fresh tuna imported from the Indian Ocean can reach 22€ the kilogram, depending on the fishing. If the price hardly variated, look no further, we are we are without any doubt l

ooking at a piece of processed tuna that does not depend on fishing as it is normally frozen on board and in large quantities, then destined fo the cannery or lower quality markets.

Finally, do you know where the loin of tuna was packed? If the tracing number is European and the product contains preservatives, it is processed meat! There is actually no factories operating with the vacuum lanyard technique package applied into the tuna industry across Europe. Additionally, if the fish has a EU origin or has been reworked in Europe, then vacuum sealed it is surely a processed lot.

What makes a tuna a fraudulent tuna?

First of all we are talking about a frozen product which is then thawed and sold as fresh. Afterwards, the product is treated which means that it has gone through a process of transformation with chemical preservatives. On the other hand, the only process that is subjected to fresh tuna is to be cut, by hand or with specialised machinery, and then put under vacuum seal without any colouring process. Again, there are some procedures that had been banned inside EU markets, such as using vegetable extract for defrosted tuna colouring and processed tuna products containing nitrites’ injections.

Can the risk of consuming illegally treated products be dangerous for health?

In addition to the health risk in relation to the additives declared or not, there is a real danger with the processed tuna. The loin is often coloured and the natural aging of the loin can not be blatantly noted, unlike a fresh tuna loin that even under-vacuum can not exceed 14 days of consumption limit. A coloured product may have an extremely high histamine level after 3 weeks and have no visual or sensory alteration -like odours- due to the "preservation" treatment that the product has undergone several weeks earlier.

Moalia sells certified fresh tuna loins amongst other certified fresh fishes and we pride ourselves on the sustainable and non chemical procedures that our products undergo. We do not sell frozen fish and we do not allow other treatment than hand made cuts for our products.

This way, we can ensure our customers’ health while doing what we love most, fish and sell the freshest and grade A quality products in the market.

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