Definitions for oilfish
oilfish, Ruvettus pretiosus(noun)
very large deep-water snake mackerel
A snake mackerel, Ruvettus pretiosus, having a high content of wax esters instead of glyceride oils
The oilfish, Ruvettus pretiosus, is a species of snake mackerel in the family Gempylidae, and the only species in the genus Ruvettus. It is found in the Mediterranean, middle Atlantic and throughout the southern seas, at depths between 100 and 800 m. Its length is between 80 cm and 2 m. The flesh is very oily and although edible, the oil actually consists of wax esters, which are not digested like edible oils. The flesh has an oil content of around 25%, and with serving sizes of several ounces and upwards commonplace, some people experience a laxative side effect from such a large amount of wax esters. Oilfish is pleasantly rich in taste and can be substantially cheaper than some other fish species, leading to some fish sellers to intentionally mislabel it as butterfish or even codfish, despite the utter lack of relation. This leads the consumer to often eat large servings, as they assume it is a fish with which they are familiar, and then some may experience a laxative effect. Because of this, Japan and Italy have imposed an import ban on oilfish, and Australia has banned oilfish from being sold as food. The US FDA has warned consumers about potential mislabeling of oilfish, but has concluded any laxative side effects that occur are uncomfortable at worst and pose no health risk. See also: Escolar substitution for tuna. Escolar, a relative of oilfish, also has high concentrations of wax esters.
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