Why eggs can taste like fish
This morning I cracked open a couple of eggs and fried them to perfection. To my horror they tasted like fish. Not merely fish but baaaaaaad fish. My initial reaction was that maybe my taste-buds had turned against me and I would spend the rest of my days looking for nutrition in pill-form. Could I have been the unwitting test subject for some kind of chicken/fish hybrid?
Once my paranoia subsided I decided to do some research. Here are some explanations.
Omega-3 eggs are produced by feeding hens a diet enriched with flaxseed. Flaxseed contains omega-3 fatty acids, and these fats are transferred to the eggs the hens lay. Too much flaxseed, however, can darken the yolks and leave a fishy taste within them.
Too much protein in feeds
There is sometimes a tendency to tailor feeds, not only for maximum production but also for large eggs. Excess amino acids, choline and lecithin are thought to increase the likelihood of taints. Some free-range and organic producers prefer to grow their own cereals and have feeds formulated to their specific requirements because of this.
Some plants cause the taint
Some plants such as garlic, oilseed rape and wild onion can impart taints to the eggs of free-ranging hens.
Some humans have a defective gene FM03 that causes a condition called Fish Odour Syndrome or Trimethylaminuria. I’m not making this up. It is the production of the chemical trimethylamine (TMA) that produces the smell. It is now thought that a similarly defective gene may also be present in chickens. It has also been suggested that brown eggs are more likely to be affected than white eggs.
Eggs tainted in storage
Eggs have porous shells so are capable of absorbing smells and other taints. They should therefore be stored in an area well away from foods such as fish, etc. In my case it is entirely possible my eggs were kept too close to some defrosting fish in the refrigerator. Never again!