The Filet-O-Fish (introduced in 1962 and reached nationwide status in 1965) is a fish sandwich sold by the international fast food
Fast food
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a...

 chain store
Chain store
Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses. In retail, dining and many service categories, chain businesses...

McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...


Product description

The Filet-O-Fish contains a battered fish
Fish (food)
Fish is a food consumed by many species, including humans. The word "fish" refers to both the animal and to the food prepared from it. Fish has been an important source of protein for humans throughout recorded history.-Terminology:...

 patty made mostly from Alaskan pollock
Alaska pollock
Alaska pollock or walleye pollock is a North Pacific species of the cod family Gadidae. While related to the common Atlantic pollock species of the same family, the Alaska pollock is not a member of the same Pollachius genus.The Norwegian pollock , a rare fish of Norwegian waters, may actually be...

 and/or hoki
Blue grenadier
The blue grenadier, hoki, blue hake, New Zealand whiptail, whiptail or whiptail hake, Macruronus novaezelandiae, is a merluccid hake of the family Merlucciidae found around southern Australia and New Zealand at depths of between . Its length is between...

, half a slice of processed cheese
Processed cheese
Processed cheese, process cheese, cheese slice, prepared cheese, cheese singles or cheese food is a food product made from normal cheese and sometimes other unfermented dairy ingredients, plus emulsifiers, extra salt, food colorings, or whey...

 and 30g (1 oz.) of tartar sauce
Tartar sauce
Tartare sauce is a creamy white sauce frequently used to season fried seafood dishes.-Composition:...

 (made with dill
Dill is a perennial herb. It is the sole species of the genus Anethum, though classified by some botanists in a related genus as Peucedanum graveolens C.B.Clarke.-Growth:...

A relish is a cooked, pickled, or chopped vegetable or fruit food item which is typically used as a condiment.In North America, relish commonly alludes to sweet pickle relish-like sauce that often condiments hot dogs, hamburgers and other types of fast food.-Description and ingredients:The item...

 and seasoning) on a steamed bun. It is similar to an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 favourite, the fish finger
Fish finger
Fish fingers, known as fish sticks in North America, are a processed food made using a whitefish such as cod, haddock or pollock which have been battered or breaded....

A sandwich is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of :bread with one or more fillings between them, or one slice of bread with a topping or toppings, commonly called an open sandwich. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or...



The sandwich was created by a McDonald's franchise
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

owner in Cincinnati
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

, Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

, named Lou Groen
Lou Groen
Lou Groen of Cincinnati, Ohio is famous for inventing the Filet-O-Fish sandwich in 1962. He invented the sandwich at his floundering McDonald's restaurant to satisfy his customers. At the time, most of his customers were Roman Catholic who had to abstain from eating meat on Friday...

in 1962. Groen owned a McDonald's in a
predominantly Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 neighborhood where
his Catholic customers engaged in the practice of not eating meat on
Fridays (a practice more common in the '60s but
that the Catholic Church continues to consider obligatory on Fridays
during Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...


The product was named by Cye Landy of Cye Landy Advertising Agency,
which was the advertising firm for that particular McDonald's franchise.

It has become popular with people who cannot eat meat-based products or with dietary restrictions concerning meat-based products, for example for Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, fish is always considered halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

, whilst other meats require special slaughter techniques to be halal. name=USAToday>

The sandwich was new McDonald's company owner Ray Kroc's
first non-hamburger menu item. Kroc made a deal with Groen: they would
sell two non-meat sandwiches on a Friday, Kroc's own Hula Burger (grilled pineapple) and the Filet-O-Fish, and whichever sold the most would be
added to the permanent menu. The Filet-O-Fish "won hands down" and was added to menus throughout 1963 until reaching nationwide status in 1965.

The use of hoki in the Filet-O-Fish first came about in 1981, when an owner of a New Zealand fisheries company was dissatisfied with the pollock Filet-O-Fish he purchased at the Courtenay Place
Courtenay Place, Wellington
Courtenay Place is the main street of the Courtenay Quarter in the Wellington, New Zealand inner-city district of Te Aro.Courtenay Place is known for its entertainment and nightlife. Many restaurants are open late and most of the bars stay open until dawn...

, Wellington
Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand, although it is likely to have surpassed Christchurch due to the exodus following the Canterbury Earthquake. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range...

 restaurant. Saying to the manager that he could make a better tasting fish fillet, he was handed a box of fillets and told to come back with identical, better-tasting fillets. He substituted the pollock for red cod, and after the manager was satisfied with the better-tasting red cod fillets, ended up in agreement to supply the Courtenay Place restaurant (and eventually several other New Zealand restaurants) with the red cod fillets. The similar-tasting hoki was substituted several years later, due to its cheaper price and its boneless fillets, and eventually was introduced widely in the early 1990s when global pollock stocks were facing low numbers.

In November 2007, McDonald's lowered the use of New Zealand hoki and increased the use of Alaskan pollock, due to declining New Zealand hoki fishery sustainability
Sustainable fisheries
Sustainability in fisheries combines theoretical disciplines, such as the population dynamics of fisheries, with practical strategies, such as avoiding overfishing through techniques such as individual fishing quotas, curtailing destructive and illegal fishing practices by lobbying for appropriate...

 and large cutbacks in the total allowable commercial catch of hoki by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries
Ministry of Fisheries (New Zealand)
The Ministry of Fisheries , also known by its acronym MFish, is a state sector organisation of New Zealand whose role is ensuring the sustainable utilisation of fisheries. This involves conserving, using, enhancing and developing New Zealand's fisheries resources. New Zealand's Minister of...

 - from 250,000 tonnes in 1997 to 90,000 tonnes in 2007.
McDonald's originally used cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

, before declining cod catches forced McDonald's to find sustainable fish elsewhere. McDonald's is trying to maintain fish only from areas certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, but that is becoming more difficult each year. Hoki is still a major ingredient.

As of March 2009, the Marine Stewardship Council placed the Alaskan Pollock fisheries in a re-assessment program due to catch numbers declining by over 30% between 2005 and 2008, and by-catch problems with salmon.

Other pop culture

While generally lagging behind more popular menu items (such as the Big Mac
Big Mac
The Big Mac is a hamburger sold by McDonald's, an international fast food restaurant chain. It is one of the company's signature products...

, which has its own theme song), the Filet-O-Fish sandwich has made additional inroads into popular culture. Author James Kennedy, for example, claims to be such a fan that he credits the sandwich as one of the inspirations for naming "The Order of Odd-Fish" in his critically acclaimed young-adult novel.

External links

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