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EXCLUSIVE: Why do my tomatoes taste of fish? Complaints about foul tasting toms on the up

Fishy-TomatoeGetty

People have been complaining that cheaper tomatoes taste like FISH.

So, what could be worse than biting into a slice and thinking there is something fishy about the flavour of your food.

Bizzarely, more people are reporting that exactly that has happened.

Instead of the usual sweet tomato flavour registering on the tongue, their taste buds have been left thinking a morsel of mackerel has just been delivered into the mouth.

So what has happened to the humble tomato?

Complaints appear to stem from the cheaper varieties bought in supermarkets rather than the more expensive vine-ripened options.

The subject of foul-testing tomatoes has made it into a number of online forums as desperate victims try to fathom what’s going on.

One user took to the tribe magazine.com forum to open the debate;

He wrote: “So I’m at my parents’ house and there’s salad with dinner. The salad has cucumbers and tomatoes in it.

“I eat a piece of tomato and pause. It has a distinctive fishy flavour to it.

“Thinking I’m having taste bud hallucinations, I eat another piece of tomato. Still fishy. I eat a third. Fishy.

“So, I ask if anyone else thinks the tomatoes taste fishy and get confirmations all around.

“What I’m thinking is that the strain of tomatoes with fish genes spliced into them has landed in our salad.”

One Twitter user Eric Stonestreet continued the debate.

He tweeted: “Sometimes tomatoes taste like fish smell.”

He got 52 replies, with other victims coming forward.

Some people have theorised that fishy-tasting toms are the result of genetic modifications with fish.

The Modernstead.com blog said: “In 1991, a group of scientists attempted to create a tomato more resistant to frost and cold storage. 

Fishy-TomatoGetty

It appears fish bone meal in fertiliser is responsible for the fishy taste of some cheap tomatoes.

“To conceive this tomato, they inserted a modified gene from a breed of arctic flounder known for its “anti-freeze” properties.

“Before you throw away those tomatoes you bought from the supermarket the other day, you should know that the experiment was not successful and the quest for a cold-resistant tomato was scrapped. 

“No one has ever purchased a tomato or tomato-based product with fish genes… or have they?”

An anonymous poster on Cafemom.com was discussing an awful-tasting batch of tomatoes in a salad.

I eat a piece of tomato and pause. It has a distinctive fishy flavour to it.

Online poster

She wrote: “FISH! It tastes like fish to me! How weird is that? Not that I dislike fish or anything, but there’s just something shudder worthy of a ball of fish flavoured goo shooting on the roof of your mouth as you bite into it.”

Other theories put forward are cross contamination from fish products during storage, which would, of cause raise real hygiene questions surrounding the produce.

On a Drownedinsound.com forum entitled “tomatoes that taste like fish,” one poster wrote: “There are more and more of these about these days.

“Probably one in every eight sandwiches I eat that have tomato in them I get a mouthful that tastes like dirty fish.”

However, it would appear that the reason for the problem is fish bone meal being added to the fertiliser of cheap tomatoes by their growers.

There was a forum on Quora.com called “Why do some tomatoes taste like fish?”  

John Kotsch posted: “I can only assume that fish meal was used as part of a fertiliser/nutrient additive for the tomato plants. 

“I have heard this complaint a few times in the past.”

Separately, Stephen Jackson‏ tweeted about the issue: “It’s the fish-bonemeal in some tomato food. 

“Basically pulverised fish. Enjoy your supper!”

However, in a forum on botanicalgarden.ubc.ca one poster did not agree.

They wrote: “I have never heard of tomatoes tasting like fish. 

“My Mum always used fish fertiliser on her tomatoes and they tasted fine.”

Perhaps the mystery continues.

It also appears the humble cucumber could be the next salad component to start taxing bad.

On a forum on Intelligentanswers.co.uk, one posted wrote: “What would make cucumber taste fishy? 

“I had long believed that it may have been due to something like a fish based fertiliser, however, I have noticed recently that what can start off as a lovely sweet tasting cucumber can begin to taste fishy after a few days. 

“In all other respects the cucumbers appear fresh and firm.”

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