Oh dear, my vac pack is split

The Fish Society | 27.05.2022

We vac pac many items but it's a fact of life that the vacuum doesn't always last until you come to eat the fish.  Split or imperfect vac pacs let air in, dramatically reducing the time your fish will stay good in your freezer. Frost and burn will develop on the surface of your fish within a week or two. These are not unsafe, but they will diminish your eating experience.

split vacuum pack

It sure doesn't look great... This is a customer photo of a pack split on arrival. It was intact when we sent it, but jostling en route and the dry ice - hardening the fish and making the pack brittle - has caused this split. Phew! We don't get many pictures like this. We're sorry about this kind of thing. but it happens from time to time and it's not the end of the world.

Sorry, but we don't guarantee your fish will arrive vac packed. If our despatch team finds a punctured vac pack, they will repack it. But jostling en route to you and jostling in your freezer afterwards mean most long term customers will experience a punctured vac pack in due course. There's another factor to which we should own up. At the time of writing (2022) we are trying to reduce our plastic footprint, so we're experimenting with thinner vac pacs. Establishing a thinner norm will take many months and a lot of trialling and feedback. We'll probably find ourselves using different grades for different kinds of fish (eg fish with bones and shellfish need thicker packs).

So, what to do if you find a split or punctured vac pac? (Splits are obvious, but punctures may be hard to spot. In an ideal world, you'll check that anything looking like it was originally vac-packed still contains zero air.) We have two important pieces of advice:

  • If you find a broken vac pac, either on delivery or later when going through your freezer, do not ignore it. You need to take two minutes to fix the problem:  cut the pack off from around the fish and then cut the label out. Now place the label on the fish and wrap in 3 or 4 layers of cling film - tightly - to exclude as much air as possible. Then, to stop the cling film coming away, put it in an plastic bag before storing.


  • If defrosting under water, TAKE GREAT CARE. If the water can get to the fish, you'll rinse flavour down the drain and degrade the texture of the fish. So if you must use water*, make sure the fish is in a bag that will absolutely keep the water off the fish eg a big plastic shopping bag perhaps with the handles hooked around the tap and the water carefully directed over the outside of the bag.     *defrosting overnight in your fridge is ALWAYS the best method.




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