Fish story spawns suspicion


DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently I purchased Northern Jewel haddock fillets, quick frozen, wild caught, skinless, boneless frozen haddock. I was leery since it was labeled as being from China.

When I got home and opened the packaging I saw that some of the fish was yellow in color. Online research claims that haddock is found in the North Atlantic and should be of a firm, white coloring.

Is there a lab in the Lewiston-Auburn area that can test the product as to prove that it is haddock and safe to consume? — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots supposes that you got the idea to test your haddock from hearing about the investigative reporting done by the Boston Globe on cheaper fish being substituted for rarer or more expensive species: “On the menu, but not on your plate.” The Sun Journal followed up on that story with “Bait and switch: Local fish sellers ensure real deals” by Daniel Hartill (

The Globe hired a laboratory in Canada to test its fish. Sun Spots does not know of any lab in Maine that would undertake the task. Anyway, the DNA test to determine whether your fish is really haddock would cost far more than the fish is worth.

Meanwhile, even if your haddock is something else, it is probably perfectly safe to eat. Sun Spots did not find any safety warnings about this brand of fish online. But if you are really concerned about its safety, you should take it back to the store. Shoppers in the United States shouldn’t have to pay for lab tests on their food before they can eat it!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Can you tell me if eggs should be tightly covered when stored in the frig. I’ve heard they should be, but most are sold with the open areas in the boxes. Thank you. — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots found a large variety of opinions on storing eggs, but very little about whether they should be covered or not. The most reliable online posting she came across was from the Canadian government, which said eggs should be stored in their original container in the back of the fridge, not in the door. Several postings warned against keeping them in the fridge door, because the temperature varies too much.

There is some evidence that eggs don’t need to be refrigerated at all, but experts say they do need to be maintained at the same temperature, and since eggs purchased in the United States are already refrigerated when you buy them, you should continue to refrigerate them as well.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to people looking for honey purchased at Fairbanks School (Jan. 6). We had two functions where honey was sold. Lynn Washburn Lamb sold it at the November craft fair. (SS: Letter from Lynn with her contact information follows.)

In October we had an apple festival where Jon Bogue sold honey, and his email address is [email protected] His honey may be purchased at Jacks Trading Post in Fairbanks. Thank you. — Cynthia Kemble, Fairbanks School Neighborhood Association, [email protected]

DEAR SUN SPOTS: It has been brought to my attention that people have written to Sun Spots to locate me. I am the local beekeeper who was at the Fairbanks School craft fair selling honey, comb honey, beeswax, candles (honey and hive products). Please contact me via any of these methods: 778-5196, P.O. Box 531, West Farmington, ME 04992, or [email protected] Thank you very much. — Lynn Washburn Lamb, Maine Honey Bee

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I thought fruit lovers (Jan. 12 and 23) might be interested in a California summer fruits ripening bowl. My mother-in-law gave me one in the 1970s. It works like a charm. Your columns are always interesting! Thank you. — Barbara via email

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to [email protected]