The Filet-O-Fish is a fish sandwich served at McDonald's. It is also referred to as the FishMac or McFish in non-English speaking countries. The sandwich consists of a breaded and fried whitefish filet topped with pickled relish, half a slice of cheese, and tartar sauce, all on a steamed bun. It was invented in 1962 by Lou Groen, an early McDonald's franchisee based in Cincinnati, Ohio. While the fish composition of the sandwich has changed through the years to satisfy taste and supply shortcomings, the framework of its ingredients have remained the same; a fried fish filet patty, steamed bun, tartar sauce, and pasteurized processed American cheese.

Product description

Template:As of, the Filet-O-Fish contains a battered, fried fish patty made mostly from pollock.[1] McDonald's Canada only uses a half slice of cheese in each Filet-O-Fish sandwich.[2][3][4]


The sandwich was created by a McDonald's franchise owner in Cincinnati, Ohio , named Lou Groen in 1962.[5][6] Groen owned a McDonald's in a predominantly Roman Catholic neighborhood where his Catholic customers engaged in the practice of fasting by not eating meat on Fridays [6] (a practice mandated before Vatican II but that the Catholic Church continues to consider obligatory on Fridays during Lent).[7]

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 do not eat meat-based products or with dietary restrictions concerning meat-based products. For example, in Islam, the fish used in the sandwich is considered halal even without special preparation, while other meats require special slaughter techniques to be halal. The product also remains popular during Lent, and in some countries, like Australia, is now joined by a temporary lenten "fish" menu, including other products like Fish and chips.[6]Template:Verify source

The sandwich was the first non-hamburger menu item brought in by new McDonald's company owner Ray Kroc.[8] Kroc made a deal with Groen: they would sell two non-meat sandwiches on a Friday, Kroc's own Hula Burger (grilled pineapple with cheese on a cold bun) and the Filet-O-Fish, and whichever sold the most would be added to the permanent menu. The Filet-O-Fish "won hands down"[6] and was added to menus throughout 1963 until reaching nationwide status in 1965.[9]

The use of farmed fish 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, Wellington 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 red cod for the pollock, 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 competitive market value and its boneless fillets, and eventually was introduced widely in the early 1990s when global pollock stocks were facing low numbers.[10] McDonald's removed the Filet-O-Fish from its menus in the United States on September 26, 1996,[11] and replaced with the Fish Filet Deluxe sandwich, which was part of McDonald's ill-fated Deluxe line of sandwiches. However, the Filet-O-Fish was brought back to its menus on March 22, 1998 due to overwhelming letters and petitions, receiving the larger fish patty from the Fish Filet Deluxe.[12]

In November 2007, McDonald's lowered the use of New Zealand hoki and increased the use of Alaskan pollock,[13] due to declining New Zealand hoki fishery sustainability and large cutbacks in the total allowable commercial catch of hoki by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries - from 250,000 tonnes in 1997 to 90,000 tonnes in 2007.[14] McDonald's originally used Atlantic cod, 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 no longer an ingredient as of 2013, since McDonalds lists only pollock as the type of fish used.[15]

As of March 2009, the Marine Stewardship Council[16] placed the Alaskan pollock fisheries in a re-assessment program[17] due to catch numbers declining by over 30% between 2005 and 2008, and by-catch problems with salmon.

As of January 2013 the Marine Stewardship Council stated that the pollock comes from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices, and McDonald's packaging/promotion will reflect that change.[18]

Product marketing

Captain Crook, the McDonaldland character, was previously used to market the sandwich to children.



  1. "Filet-O-Fish". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. Smith, Craig (November 7, 2002). "North Sea Cod Crisis Brings Call for Nations to Act". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Clark, Paul (February 20, 2007). "No fish story: Sandwich saved his McDonald's". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  7. "Fasting and Abstinence". 
  8. Pepin, Jacques (December 7, 1998). "Burger Meister RAY KROC". Time Magazine.,9171,989785-2,00.html. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  9. n/a, n/a (n/a). "Travel Through Time With Us!". [[McDonald's Corporate|]]. Retrieved 2010-12-30. 
  10. Hepözden, Rosemary (2011). O'Flaherty, Brian. ed. Golden Arches under Southern Skies: Celebrating 35 years of McDonald's in New Zealand. in co-op with McDonald's Restaurants (NZ) Ltd. Auckland: Renaissance Publishing. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0-9864521-1-6. 
  11. "Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Google News Archive Search".,842048&dq. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  12. "Charlotte: Search Results". 1998-03-22. Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  13. "Find The Answer ::". Retrieved 2014-01-26. 
  14. Moore, Bill (June 28, 2011). "Hoki fishery rebuilt, quota to rise, says minister". Nelson Mail. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  15. Daily Finance Article
  16. "Alaska Pollock- Gulf of Alaska — MSC". Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  17. J Rice, D Bowen, S Hanna, P Knapman (12 November 2008). "Surveillance Report – Gulf of Alaska Pollock Fishery". Moody Marine. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  18. The Associated Press (2013-01-25). "McDonald's fish to carry 'sustainable' labeling". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 

External links

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