Why was my sardine green?
October 19, 2019 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I just opened a tin of sardines, took a few bites, and then noticed that the part I had eaten was dark green and odd looking. Help me figure out what it was and if I'm going to be sick. :(

The tin was Season Brand Skinless and Boneless Sardines in 100% Olive Oil, purchased from Costco. Expires 12/2022.

Part of the fish was dark green and mushy. The rest of the piece seemed fine. It didn't taste or smell odd, but then again it's been a while since I've had sardines so my taste buds might be off. I took plenty of sniffs before I tossed it out and it really didn't seem odd.

But now I'm wondering...what the heck was that? Mold? it was uniform and isolated, and only on one piece of fish. Was it part of the sardine that hadn't been removed properly during processing? Or was it some sort of spoilage that's going to make me sick and ruin my weekend?

Have you ever seen something like this in your tinned fish? Are two bites going to do me in, or will I have had to have more?

I have a severe fear of vomiting, so please don't suggest that I pre-emptively puke to solve my problem. My stomach is already in knots from anxiety so I can't tell if I'm headed for a miserable time. And I have fishy aftertaste mouth from the second tin I opened (which was totally fine, and I needed to eat lunch), so I can't tell if I'm tasting anything weird from the first tin.

Just took a couple photos; will upload when I change computers.
posted by phatkitten to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's a photo of the green bits. The consistency was a bit sludgy in parts when I mushed it with my fork.

Ate it about 45 minutes ago.

Hate being so anxious about food-borne illness. :(
posted by phatkitten at 12:17 PM on October 19, 2019

Could it be that this specific fish wasn't properly gutted or had full stomach contents? If so, it probably won't hurt you any, even if it's a bit gross. The general texture of that image reminds me of freshly dissected stomach contents, and depending what the sardine was last eating before it died, a green color might be more or less normal. If the gutting process ruptured the digestive tract without removing the whole thing, that might explain the appearance of the fish.
posted by sciatrix at 2:16 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Barring any signs that the can was compromised before you opened it (bulging, holes, lack of a vacuum sound) I would say the canning process likely eliminated any vectors of food borne illness.
posted by Karaage at 2:33 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

You’re almost certainly totally fine; see here for more discussion. The main point is canned fish is super safe and reliable, even with some discoloration etc.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:39 PM on October 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

I know I'm late to this situation, but I wanted to say that I relate so much to this level of anxiety over food borne illness and to vomiting phobia. More than I hope that your fish doesn't make you sick (it won't--I'm certain you would have smelled/tasted something problematic--fish is handy that way), I'm hoping that you'll find some relief some day from your anxiety. It's possible (I'm mostly recovered). Best of luck!
posted by Poeia8Kate at 8:07 PM on October 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

Update: No issues so far!

The can was uncompromised, so I'm pretty sure now that it was an improperly gutted fish, especially since the weirdness was all in the bottom half of the fillet. But when I don't know what I'm looking at, ANXIETY HAPPENS. So thank you so much for all your help and info. Knowledge is the best salve for this aspect of my anxiety, but to try to make up for that lack in the future I'm going to make sure I look at what I'm eating.

Thanks, Green, for helping me solve the mystery of the green 'dine.
posted by phatkitten at 5:13 AM on October 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

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