I got the chicken fresh from Smith's, rinsed it, seasoned it, and it didn't smell at all. I put it in my mother-in-law's baking dish, baked it, and it smelled sooo good in the house while baking. I served it only for my husband to spit it out. It tastes 100 percent like fish. Not smell, taste. What could this be from? Does it indicate the chicken was unsafe to eat?

  • Actually, I doubt fish tastes like fish - it actually smells like fish. There is no taste receptor for fishyness known :) Jun 26, 2018 at 8:40

3 Answers 3


I can think of several things, but it's not the definitive answer (not enough info in the question):

  • Oven was used recently for baking fish
  • Dish/pot was used recently for baking fish
  • Chickens were fed food containing fish. I don't know if this still happens, but in my country (The Netherlands) some 30 years ago, you could buy a 'powdery' chicken food that was some mix of ground-down grains, corn, and fish serving as a cheap protein source. You could definitely taste that in the eggs - I don't remember about the chicken meat itself.
    Note that chicken meat is sort of 'lowest on the rung' where quality is concerned, and maybe this was a batch from someone looking for a quick profit.

Note that the smell of fish permeates/overpowers quickly and that taste is very much determined by smell.


Fishmeal :( Some farmers feed chickens fishmeal. I assume it provides a better nutrient base, blah, blah. It's gross. I can only buy one brand of chicken now, because most of the local grocery stores sell "fishy" chicken.

  • 3
    From the chicken's point of view it's probably not gross at all. It's just that they usually aren't able to catch fish and that we (very much including me) don't like the resulting taste. But chickens are naturally omnivores. They feed on worms, snails, slugs, insects (which are easier for them to catch than, say, fish) and the occasional mouse (if they get it). Jul 27, 2019 at 14:37

In the UK, in the post-war era of the 50's and early 60's, a whole roast chicken was an expensive luxury food. For many British families it offered a rare alternative to the regular Sunday roast "dinner" (lunch) in place of roast beef, pork or lamb, far less expensive to buy for the so called working classes of the time. This was still the age of free-range chickens so quality and taste were excellent. Egg-yolks were rich in color and taste. This all changed from the mid-60's when economies of scale turned the raising of chickens into an unregulated industry, the so called "battery" chicken "produced" on a vast, industrial scale. Millions of chickens flooded the market and the retail cost to the family dropped well below that of meat. But these chickens were raised in appalling conditions and fed the "waste" byproducts of the UK's fishing industry, a dried fish powder or mini fish pellet. The chicken of the late 60's, 70's and early 80's tasted fishy unless bought from upscale poulterers or sourced from known free range outlets. The battery chicken of today has improved with High Street supermarkets using their clout to reject suppliers of fish-fed chucks. Maybe the OP has stumbled on a supplier of foul-tasting fish-fed-fowl.

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