A Fishy Problem
From BBC News 22/04/10:
A fish and chip shop owner has been fined after his business passed a cheaper fish off as cod.
Trading standards officers analysed "cod" purchased at C'or Blimey in Bourton-on-the-Water, after a tip off from a member of the public in 2009.
They found the flesh was from panga - a cheaper, tropical fish.
Shop owner Neil Amsingh, 49, of Coventry was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 court costs by Cheltenham Magistrates. He admitted the offence.
The head of Gloucestershire County Council's Trading Standards, Eddie Coventry, said: "Panga sells for half the price of cod at market, but in some chip shops, customers are being charged the same price as cod, leading to a tidy profit for the unscrupulous chip shop owner.
"There is no reason why panga cannot be sold, but it must be described accurately so that customers get what they ask for at the counter."
Pangas are small salt-water fish, commonly caught off the coast of Southern Africa.
Mr Ambsingh could have perhaps tried a rather fanciful line of argument by claiming that him deceiving consumers in selling them cod when it was in fact Panga, was helping to preserve the rapidly dwindling (read: soon to be extinct) cod stocks. In other words, he was acting for the greater good of the planet which arguably should outweigh the financial welfare of a few gluttonous citizens who continue to gorge themselves on cod, despite the broad public awareness that the species is really ‘on the rocks’*.
If customers knew it wasn't cod they were buying, it’s likely they wouldn’t be as keen and if Mr Amsingh had charged a substantially lower price for it (i.e. passing the cost-saving on to the customers) they would almost certainly have grown suspicious. Also, while the taste might be comparable, many customers simply have no sense of adventure in sampling other species with their portion of chips and might fear of being seen as a ‘cheap-skate’*.
But, nah... I wouldn’t have rated his chances very highly of successfully arguing that either. Would have been interesting to try though! Also, it’s possible Mr Amsingh simply admitted his guilt after feeing such a ‘Panga’* of guilt!! ;-)
* I’m just on fire today!! ;-) *Sigh* ……… I'm here all week, folks! :p