Crayfish “cheats” admit mistake

Good manners would keep anyone from asking a lady her age. If a Swedish fishseller had its way, certain crayfish would be treated with the same etiquette.

The Swedish National Food Administration has filed a complaint against frozen-food seller Pandalus, for re-stamping the packing dates and the “best-by” date on twelve tons of Turkish crayfish.

“This is cheating,” says Anders Bergman, temporary department head at the National Food Administration.

Pandalus president Peter Arvidson says the changes occurred when the company was changing the appearance of its packaging. “It’s a regrettable mistake. We will accept the punishment if we have broken the law as the National Food Administration sees it,” says Arvidson.

The fish have been recalled, but it’s possible that some packages were sold and have been eaten. The National Food Administration says there is no danger from eating the frozen goods.

The original dates on the crayfish said the boxes were packed in September 2003, but that has been changed to October 2004.

Bergman says it’s a clear case of breaking the law. In the complaint to the prosecutor, the Administration is also calling for an inspection of Fryshuset Iskuben (literally translated, the Ice Cube Freezer House) in Lidköping, where the change is believed to have been made.

Bergman believes it is most harmful to change the packing date.

“In that case, the consumer believes that the goods are younger than they actually are. The consumer has a right to know exactly how old these fish are,” he says.

The National Food Administration was tipped off about the date-changes in late July, just in time to prevent some 4,520 kilos of aging crayfish from going to stores.

Though Pandalus’ Peter Arvidson says frozen fish can have a three-year shelf life, he admits that the crayfish in this matter would taste best before the first date marked – September 2005.