John West UK

Frequently Answered Questions

FAQ's

We get asked lots of fish-related questions at John West. Most of them we can answer quite easily, because without being big-headed we know our stuff inside and out. Some questions though, like ‘How wet does a fish get?’ we don’t take too seriously. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and of course our answers to them.

Providing safe, legal and freely-chosen employment in our facilities and supply chain is critically important to us and our parent company, Thai Union.

Our suppliers are required to sign up to our Business Ethics and Labour Code of Conduct, Vessel Improvement Program and Code of Conduct, all of which aim to provide clear guidance on our standards and to maintain ethical policies and practices.

Meanwhile, Thai Union operates a zero recruitment fees policy, especially when recruiting migrant workers for our factories, and works with partners such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to combat labour abuse on land and at sea. Thai Union’s Ethical Migrant Recruitment Policy was recognised by independent evaluator Impact as a “landmark in improving migrant recruitment.”

To find out more about how we support safe and legal labour throughout our supply chain click here.

The bottom of every can of our tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines has a number on it, which can be used to find the type of species in your can and the ocean it was caught from – you can even trace the fish back to the boat that made the catch. All you need to do is enter the number into the John West can tracker.

In 2019 our parent company, Thai Union, released its first European Sourcing Transparency: Wild Caught Fish and Shellfish report, in partnership with WWF. The report represented the data from the sustainability assessment process we underwent with WWF on our supply chains, and is a key part of Thai Union’s commitment to transparency in its operations. You can see the report here.

As a processor and importer, we don’t own or operate any fishing vessels, but we are committed to sourcing responsibly so that the seas are sustainable for now and for future generations. Through the Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) that we are involved with, if a need is identified for the fishery to reduce the level of bycatch, then our suppliers can work with partners on solutions. You can find out more about our approach to responsible sourcing here.

If you’re interested in following the work of FIPs, we’d recommend signing up to FisheryProgress.org, here. This lets you track the progress of any FIP (not just those that we are involved in) and gives you full access to all the information that is published about a FIP. To read more about the FIPs that Thai Union is participating in, search for Thai Union as a ‘participant’ under the FIP Directory on FisheryProgress.org.  

As a processor and importer, we don’t own or operate any fishing vessels, but we are committed to sourcing responsibly so that the seas are sustainable for now and for future generations. In order to deliver towards this commitment, our parent company, Thai Union, has worked since 2014 to set up Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans.

FIPs aim to improve performance in the fishery and deliver certification to the MSC certification which measures sustainability. These projects unite seafood processors, fishing vessel operators, NGOs and governments to identify environmental challenges, develop detailed effective action plans and collaborate on implementation. Plans may include changes in policy, implementing harvest controls or changing fishing techniques. To find out more about FIPs, check out this video.

When we worked with WWF between 2014-2018, we evaluated the sustainability of our wild caught seafood in Europe. The results were made public through Thai Union’s inaugural European ‘Sourcing Transparency Report’.

We recognise that traceability is the backbone of sustainability. With traceability in place, we can track every product – from catch to consumption. We’re active members of the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (find out more about that here), and we’ve helped pioneer technological solutions to traceability in the seafood industry. Check out Thai Union’s innovative work here.

You can see the results of our commitment to traceability through the Can Tracker, which lets you track your product back to the vessel that caught it.

For further information on our sustainable sourcing strategy, check out Thai Union’s SeaChange® site.

As a processor and importer, neither John West or our parent company, Thai Union, owns or operates any fishing vessels, rather we source our seafood from fisheries all over the world. These fisheries use a range of different fishing methods, including methods known as pole and line and purse seine. We believe seafood sustainability means fisheries operating in line with best practice so that they adhere to environmental and social standards – from catch to consumption. Thai Union understands that there are advantages and disadvantages to different fishing methods and is committed to supporting fisheries to improve to achieve best practice.

In recognition of our responsible sourcing, John West has been awarded the Marine Stewardship Council ‘UK Canned Brand of the Year’ for the last three years. Meanwhile, Thai Union is the highest rated food products company on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the world’s leading seafood business on the Seafood Stewardship Index. You can find out more about our work here.

Learn more about how we source responsibly here.

We’re committed to ensuring that 100% of our packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 and review the materials used in our products as innovative, more sustainable options become available.

Through our parent company, Thai Union, we have a number of initiatives in place to reduce ocean plastics and marine debris, like our membership of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). We support them to tackle issues related to lost or abandoned fishing gear. Find out more here

The sustainability challenges facing the global seafood industry are complex, and we’re on a sustainability journey to drive positive change. Our parent company, Thai Union, reports on our progress in our annual Sustainability Report, as well as on the dedicated SeaChange® website (seachangesustainability.org/). You can see our latest report here.

Our current goals are set to the end of 2020, then we’ll report our progress and set out commitments for 2025. Read about Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange®, here

So the one thing we do know is that most people aren’t getting enough. Despite heart disease being on the rise in the UK, we’re still eating too much red meat, and not enough fish. Now the NHS recommends that we get two portions of fish a week, one of which should be of the oily variety. Heart UK agrees, and their website states that we should be getting a minimum of two portions over a 7-day period.

But why? If you didn’t know already, oily fish contains something called Omega-3, and Omega-3 is good news for our health (especially our heart). Long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) reduce blood pressure and blood-clotting, regulate the rhythm of our heartbeat and reduce triglyceride levels. So what’s a portion? Well, if we’re getting technical, 140g (4.9oz) constitutes a portion, but as long as you’re getting approximately a fillet on your plate, you should be fine.

Not only do John West sell a range of oily fish in easy-to-eat formats, we also have a whole host of recipes over on our website. From mackerel recipes to salmon recipes, we have everything you need to make getting oily fish into your diet fun, easy, and delicious.

So we know that fish is good for your soul, but did you know that it’s good for your health, too? The NHS recommends that we have two portions of fish a week, one of which should be “oily”, and that’s because these slippery lot contain Omega-3 fatty acids that keep our heart, brain and eyes healthy.

But just as all men aren’t created equal, all fish aren’t created oily, and so we’ve given you the lowdown of our favourite oily varieties below.

THE OILY FISH SHORTLIST

Salmon

Salmon is one of the nation’s best-loved fish, and with good reason. It’s a real quality source of protein, and it provides us with Omega 3 and vitamin D in abundance. Oh, and it’s delicious. Salmon is a pretty straightforward fish to cook with, but if you’re short of ideas, we have a comprehensive list of salmon recipes here.

Mackerel

Mackerel are fast fish, so catching one is something of an achievement for our crew. Eating one shouldn’t be rushed though, as aside from their impressive Omega 3 content, they’re a scrumptious part of any meal. To incorporate more of this unique fish into your diet, check out our mackerel recipes here.

Sardines

Sardines are on the smaller scale of the fish we catch, but what they lack in size, they make up for in flavour. Sardines need to be caught at certain times of the year to ensure that they contain the best texture and flavour possible, but at John West, we always work hard to get a good catch. Sardines are delicious on toast, but they’re a surprisingly versatile fish, and you can find more sardine recipes here.

Kippers

Kippers are a bit misleading, as they’re actually just smoked herring, but despite the name, they’ve been a staple of the British diet for years. And it turns out we were onto something – they’re naturally high in Omega 3, so they’re a great place to get those all-important good fats.

Herrings

Herrings are one of the most plentiful fish in the world, and as a rich source of both vitamin D and Omega 3, they happen to be one of the best for you too. A brilliant fish to incorporate into your diet if you want to eat sustainably as well as healthily.

Slid & Skippers

These tiny fish (on average, between 7-12cm) are caught in British coastal waters and are packed full of Omega 3, meaning they’ll make both your heart and your tastebuds happy.

After a punishing 3 mile run or a strenuous workout at the gym, all you probably want to do is simply collapse on the sofa for a nice, long nap. But hang on, you can do that later. First things first, you need to quickly replenish your body with a snack that’s high in protein and carbohydrates. So don’t head for the lounge or bedroom after a workout, make for the kitchen instead.

Help your muscles recover and boost your blood sugar
Eating a snack within two hours of your workout will help your muscles to recover more quickly and raise your blood sugar levels. But of course it needs to be the right kind of snack. Munching on a bowlful of salad for instance sounds healthy enough but it won’t give you that vital energy kick of calories and nutrients. And at the other extreme, indulging in a bacon sandwich won’t do the trick either, because it’s high in fat and salt and likely to undo a lot of your effort. Instead, take a tip from John West and turn to our Tuna. It’s the perfect post workout food, even though we do say so ourselves.

Protein and carbs, a great combination
The great thing about John West Tuna is that it’s not only succulent and tasty, but also packed with protein. Which is why our tuna after a workout is such a good idea, especially when you combine it with some carbohydrates and make it work even harder. And here’s a couple of easy ways you can do exactly that:

A simple, after gym sandwich
Before your gym bag has hit the floor, you can rustle up a quick and convenient snack with a can of our less fuss, less mess, No Drain Tuna. Just sandwich the tuna straight from the can between two slices of whole-grain bread, then add a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of black pepper and two or three wafer thin slices of cucumber. Simple, wholesome, delicious.

A zesty little tuna pasta salad
With a little more time and effort, you can put together a mouth-watering tuna pasta salad. Simply boil a handful of green beans for 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Also, pre-cook 150g of pasta shells. Then, in a large mixing bowl, combine a can of our No Drain Tuna with ½ a finely sliced red onion and some lemon zest. Finally, add the pasta shells and some fresh rocket and give everything one final mix. Voila. A protein and carbohydrate feast that’s fit for any post workout snack.

So there you go, just two of the many ways you can combine John West Tuna with carbs to delicious effect. Check out our website for more recipes.
And remember, if you want an instant hit of protein after a workout simply slip a can of our convenient No Drain Tuna into your gym bag and just go for it in the changing rooms. You might get the odd glance, but when it’s that tasty and doing you good, who cares?

The short and simple answer to ‘Is canned tuna cooked?’ is ‘yes it is!’ In fact it’s actually cooked twice, as you’ll soon find out.

From sea to deck – from boat to plate

At John West we’ve been offering you the best quality tuna since 1952 so we know more than most about the journey our tuna takes from boat to plate. One thing we can tell you, is that the journey has never been more efficient, more hygienic or more technologically advanced that it is today.

Top skills and high technology
Getting the tuna into cans, so it reaches you as fresh tasting as possible, is carried out with expert skill. Once the tuna is caught, it’s quick-frozen to lock in its freshness. It is graded on arrival to ensure the tuna is of the type, size and quality demanded by our customers. It is then pre-cooked in a purpose-designed oven for 2-4 hours depending on the size of the fish, ensuring the tuna is cooked through to perfection, maintaining its succulence.

Boned, filleted canned & sealed

The next stage is for the tuna to be left to completely cool, before it is thoroughly boned, skinned and filleted by hand a by dedicated crew. Each portion of tuna is then canned in a liquid medium, such as brine, spring water or sunflower oil. The cans are then sealed.

Cooked again with extra care
After the cans of tuna have been sealed, another cooking session takes place where extremely high temperatures are reached. This is called retort cooking and happens inside giant, specially constructed pressure cookers.

And why is our tuna cooked twice? To be doubly sure that we have killed off any potential bacteria and that our fish is as good as it was when it went in, even years down the line. Finally, the cans are left to cool before being labelled and shipped to various destinations across the world. Tests and checks are carried out throughout its process to make sure the quality and safety of the product is assured.

So yes, our canned tuna is cooked, which means it’s ready to eat straight from the can – great for those of us that just can’t wait any longer to start eating it or mixing it into one of our favourite dishes. One of the most delicious convenience foods you’ll ever taste.

Is John West canned tuna healthy?  Yes it is. It’s packed with protein and is one of the healthiest canned fish you can eat. That’s why making it a regular part of your diet is a good idea, especially if you want to give your body the benefit of some real protein power. And with all the great things that protein does for us, who wouldn’t?

Boost your protein level – top it up with tuna
Just one can of tuna contains at least 30 grams of protein. (They do make the additional recommendation that if you are trying for a baby or are pregnant, then you should eat no more than the equivalent of 4 cans of tuna a week.)

Much tastier than protein supplements
Protein is also a great natural muscle builder and can provide us with energy, so if you workout at the gym you might want to stick a can or two of our tuna in your kit bag. You’ll find it’s a whole lot tastier than protein supplement drinks and tablets.

A healthy lifestyle
So you see, putting on a pair of shorts and heading for a strenuous workout at the gym is not the only way of looking after yourself. Putting your feet up and tucking into a can of tuna is another. But seriously, exercise is important too, so don’t trust everything to tuna. You’ve got to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle at the same time. Just make sure that the protein power of tuna plays a part in it.

So much variety you’ll never get bored
And because tuna benefits our bodies in all sorts of good ways, John West want to make sure you can enjoy it in lots of great ways too. Not simply tuna chunks, flakes, steaks and slices in cans, but also tuna infused with herbs, smothered in exotic dressings and ready-to-eat Light Lunches.

You’ll also find plenty of healthy tuna recipes on our website, so click here to find out more. With the help of John West, tuna can be as varied and tasty as it is healthy.

But which is our favourite, canned Red Salmon or canned Pink Salmon? Well as you’d expect we don’t have one. We like them both the same.

But there are differences of course and not just in the colour, so if you’ve ever wondered what those differences are, we’re going to tell you.

Both caught wild in the wilds of Alaska and Canada
Red Salmon and Pink Salmon are both cold water fish that live in the Pacific Ocean, but swim to fresh water sources to spawn. Ours are caught wild in the rivers, lakes and estuaries of Alaska, where the waters are among the cleanest in the world. So far so similar, but there are some differences coming up.

What’s in a name?
Red Salmon is also known as ‘Sockeye’, whilst Pink Salmon is sometimes called ‘Humpie,’ so in both cases you can clearly see why those aren’t the names we put on the outside our cans. Somehow, we just can’t imagine anyone saying, ‘mmm I just fancy a Sockeye sandwich, or ‘I think I’ll make a Humpie salad for lunch’.

Different weights and different flavours
Another difference is in the weight, with Red Salmon on average coming in at 6 pounds, but Pink Salmon being a little lighter at around 4 pounds.  You can taste a difference too, because Red Salmon tend to have a richer, fuller flavour and a firmer texture, whilst Pink Salmon have a milder flavour and a softer texture.

The differences in taste also mean that both fish are used in different ways, when it comes to preparing recipes. The more intense flavour of Red Salmon for instance makes it ideal for dishes containing other highly flavoured ingredients, such as olives. In an alternative kitchen, Pink Salmon’s more delicate flavour makes it perfect for salads or fishcakes.
In their own way though, they’re both very versatile.

They’re both winners in their own way.
And that’s about it really. Two fairly similar fish with lots of good things going for them. They both taste great, they’re both good for you, they both make excellent sandwiches and brilliant meals and they’re both very popular with you, our consumers. So as far as we’re concerned, if there were a talent contest for John West Red Salmon and John West Pink Salmon, they’d both come first.

You might prefer the taste of one over the other though, which is fine by us. And that’s why we offer both of them. So you can choose your favourite!

Here at John West, Salmon is the fish that we’ve been selecting for longer than any other, so it’s the one that’s closest to our hearts. Coincidentally it also happens to be good for your heart, which leads us very nicely into the health and nutritional benefits of this fantastic fish and why it’s so good for you.

Omega 3’s – hearts just love them
Salmon is a naturally oily fish, which means it’s a great source of long chain Omega 3 fatty acids*, which can play a big part in maintaining heart health and keeping all our tickers ticking along nicely. Dietary recommendations for just about everyone is to eat at least two portions of fish a week, including an oily one, so choose a day and make that your Salmon day.

Protein and calorie wise, it’s very wise!
In terms of protein, a 100g serving of John West Salmon contains as much as a pint of milk, and in terms of calories contains about 130 calories for the pink variety and 150 calories for the red.

A great source of two vital Vitamins
Other reasons to include canned Salmon in your diet, is the fact that it’s relatively low in saturated fat and an excellent source of two vital vitamins. In just one 100g serving for instance, you’ll find the recommended daily intake of Vitamin B12, which contributes to normal red blood cell formation.

Along with Vitamin B12, each can of Salmon is a great source of Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones and contributes to the maintenance of normal bones. Many people in the UK actually have a low Vitamin D intake and a 100g portion of canned Salmon contains over 7.5 microgrammes of this benefit-packed Vitamin. This happens to be the recommended daily reference intake for the over 65’s, and very few other foods naturally have such a high Vitamin D content.

Ideal for adding to diets, menus & kit bags
Whether you prefer your canned Salmon red or pink, or skinless and boneless, none of the John West varieties at least have any artificial colourings, additives or preservatives, so you can tuck into naturally great tasting fish with nothing else getting in the way.

All things considered, canned Salmon is definitely worth adding to your healthy diet, whether you’re keeping an eye on your figure or simply just watching what you eat. It’s also worth adding a can to your kit bag if you’re a regular gym visitor, so you can fuel up after a workout.

To find out lots of exciting and deliciously different ways of building more canned Salmon into your mealtimes, click here and take a look at our healthy recipes.

*The following health claim for EPA and DHA has been approved by EFSA (Commission Regulation (EU) 1924/2006 and 432/2012) (the beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250 mg of EPA and DHA).

You can write to us at John West Foods Ltd, No. 1 Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1BP, UK. Or if you want to call us, you can phone us on 0151 243 6200.

John West is part of the Thai Union Group, incorporated in Thailand. For more information on Thai Union, please visit: www.thaiunion.com

No. 1 Mann Island, Liverpool L3 1BP, UK.

Unfortunately we don’t offer this service at the moment. But who knows what may happen in the future?

No we don’t! Now how’s that for a straightforward answer.

Remove from the can and place in a suitable air-tight container. Then store in a refrigerator for up to two days.

Yes there are, because we believe the skin and bones are an essential part of Salmons all round goodness. In fact the bones are an excellent source of calcium. If you like you can mash the soft bones into the fish so you’re hardly aware of them at all. Alternatively, the skin and bones may be removed before eating the Salmon, or you can choose John West skinless and boneless Salmon if that’s the way you like it.

John West canned tuna is routinely tested and monitored for mercury and other potential environmental contaminants. The levels of mercury we are able to detect are very low and well within the maximum levels permitted under EU/UK legislation. The UK Food Standards Agency advice is that people should eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish. (Canned tuna is not considered an oily fish). They do make the additional recommendation that if you are trying for a baby or are pregnant, then you should eat no more than the equivalent of 4 cans of tuna a week. (These figures are based on medium-sized cans with a drained weight of about 130 -140g per can). You can read more on this subject at: www.food.gov.uk

As with nearly all canned foods, our canned products are cooked in the can as part of the canning process. This means that they are always fully cooked in the sealed can and may be eaten straight from the can without the need for additional cooking. However, you can warm them up if that is how you like to eat them. Sardines on toast for instance, just wouldn’t be the same with cold sardines.