Blog: Katy AskewIn defence of fish 'n' chips

Katy Askew | 4 March 2010

The debate surrounding obesity has generated reams of headlines as policy-makers, pressure groups and the food industry vie for public attention.

Here in the UK, regulators have struck out at seaside favourite fish and chips.

According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the Food Standards Agency wants fryers to increase the size and thickness of their chips because chunkier versions absorb less fat as well as altering cooking temperatures and portion sizes.

Fish and chips are a high-profile target for the FSA and, as iconic foods – indeed foods that to many a casual observer 'define' a nation – go, it seems an apt, albeit unglamorous, representation of the UK's culinary traditions.

Nevertheless, there are few who would mistake fish and chips for a “healthy” option.

Rather, the takeaway favourite speaks of a treat at the end a summer day... Of eating out of paper off your (salty and possibly slightly sunburnt) knees. And, frankly, I don't want the FSA meddling with my nostalgic, romanticised notions of the meal.

(But then, I didn't like when they stopped serving it out of newspaper either!)

Douglas Roxburgh, president of the National Federation of Fish Fryers, makes a more serious point – chip shops already tend to serve chunky chips. According to Roxburgh, the FSA should concentrate its efforts on the likes of McDonald's, Burger King and KFC, who serve skinnier French fries.

“At the moment it seems like a case of picking on the little guys because they can't touch the big guy,” he told The Telegraph.


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