In Spain, the Freeze is On


You want fresh fish in Spain? Maybe a plate of those wonderful boquerones (anchovies) at your favorite tapas bar? Then ask your waiter to check the freezer. Spanish chefs are in an uproar over the government's decision this month to ban the sale of fresh fish and other seafood in restaurants. Now, all seafood has to be frozen for a minimum of 24 hours, to kill the worm-like parasite called anisakis. The Spanish Food Security Agency claims the risk of serious food poisoning is too high from raw or lightly cooked seafood. But chefs insist that anisakis only affects a tiny proportion of North Atlantic fish and that the blanket ban will only harm sales. Fish and prawns that have been frozen, they say, have a different texture and flavor, and they fear customers won't like it either. Of course, diners in the Basque region need only hop over the border to France, where these controversial food-hygiene laws do not exist.

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