According to a report published by the Australian Consumers Association, frozen fish meals might not be as healthy as manufacturers suggest. A survey published by Choice magazine has found that prepared frozen fish meals are often low in nutrients and omega-3 oils.

The survey found that a vast majority of frozen fish products are made either from hake or hoki (if “white fish” is specified then it will usually be one or the other, the report said). These fish are low in essential oils. The health benefits of fish low in omega-3 are diluted still further by the addition of various other ingredients to fish meals, meaning that the end product is not only low in omega-3 oils and nutrients, but it actually has a low fish content.

The authors of the survey noted: “Some manufacturers are more enthusiastic about the health benefits of omega-3s than is really justified by the amounts in their products.”

One product advised consumers to “increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to maintain a healthy heart” on the label. However, Choice found that to get the minimum daily intake of omega-3s from this particular ready meal, you’d have to eat more than six servings each day.

Omega-3 fats, which are polyunsaturated fats found especially in fish, can lower the chance of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are also significant in the development of the central nervous system in babies before and after they’re born, meaning women should stock up on them while pregnant and while breastfeeding. In order to consume a healthy level of omega-3, Choice advised consumers to turn to fresh oily fish, such as salmon.

Read the editor’s view in the blog