THE Swedish traditional dish of ‘surstromming’, or tinned fermented Baltic herring, has now been added to the list of dangerous weapons such as shoe bombs, firearms, knives that are forbidden on airlines, the Swedish newspaper aftonbladet.se reported.
The reason is that several airlines consider the tins of fermented herring to be a safety risk, and in connection with this the airport in Stockholm, Arlanda, has stopped selling the traditional dish in its airport shops. It is the airlines British Airways, Finnair, Air France and KLM which all have forbidden ‘surstromming’ in the luggage of their customers. The Swedish Civil Aviation Authority told aftonbladet.se that at least two occasions, the airline KLM has had problems with leaking tins of ‘surstromming’ and that sanitising an airplane is a costly affair.
This has caused outrage among producers of the dish, which some people consider a delicacy and others think it is the worst thing they had ever eaten. “They are cultural and culinary illiterate, says Ruben Madsen, a producer of the dish that has been sold at the Stockholm airport, but which now has been forced off the shelves.
Mr Madsen, defends the disputed delicacy by saying that it is a myth that the tins can explode since the fermented herring is finished fermenting, vaccum packed and in a special chill package. Online encyclopedia Wikipedia describes Surströmming (sour herring) as a Swedish delicacy consisting of fermented Baltic herring and goes on to say that Surströmming is sold in cans, which when opened release a strong, foul smell. It is for this particular smell, which is similar to fish gone bad or garbage left out in the sun for a couple of days, that surströmming is infamous in popular culture, and it is often held that people who try surströmming can be confident that they will never forget it. The herring is caught in spring, when it is in prime condition and just about to spawn. The herring are fermented in barrels for one to two months, then tinned where the fermentation continues. Half a year to a year later, gases have built up sufficiently for the once cylindrical tins to bulge into a more rounded shape. These unusual containers of surströmming can be found in supermarkets all over Sweden.
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