And now, from the Netherlands, comes a shocking tale of potential corruption and deception within the salty fish community.
Every year the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad sponsors a national herring test in which two experts rate hundreds of Netherlandish herring sellers. Herring, raw, pickled or brined, is a delicacy across Northern Europe and everyone takes it very seriously. But, Grub Street reports via The Economist, a Tilburg University economist was surprised to find out his local shop got a score of zero. He spoke to a merchant in the shop who said one judge gives higher scores to stores that get their fish from the distributor Atlantic Group. And this judge...wait for it...is a consultant for the Atlantic Group.
As you can imagine this discovery has rocked the herring community and I, someone who has never even eaten herring or read the Algemeen Dagblad, am devastated. The Economist reports:
The economist contacted 85% of the shops surveyed in the past two years and asked who their distributors were. He found that whereas the overall average score was 5.5, the average for those supplied by Atlantic was 8.7. The extra boost for the Atlantic stores came mainly from the subjective scores.
Mr Vollaard’s study has blown the lid off the sealed world of Dutch herring. Fishmongers who long suspected the judge of bias towards Atlantic now say the test is rotten. Two who received low ratings have vowed to sue the Algemeen Dagblad for defamation.
I would say that the expertise of this judge was a real red herring, but seems like they are just your basic biased fraud!