Why is “Irish smoked salmon” different from “smoked Irish salmon”?

Burren Smokehouse Cold Smoked Irish Organic Salmon

You will learn something today that not many people know about. It will help you to find out if a fish product is misleadingly (but not illegally) labeled.

It is about the order of the words “smoked” and “Irish” on the labeling of fish products.

Let’s say you are standing in front of a supermarket fridge trying to decide which products to choose. There is Irish smoked salmon, smoked Irish salmon, and then some. Is there a difference between them, and is the difference obvious from the labeling? Yes to both.

Here comes the misleading part. One should assume that “Irish smoked salmon” refers to salmon that has its origin in Ireland and was also smoked in Ireland. But that’s not the case.

In the legal jargon, “Irish smoked salmon” only means that this salmon was smoked in Ireland. The country of origin, however, could be Norway or Scotland. Especially in central Europe, the smokehouses source salmon in Norway, then import it frozen to smoke it in their own country.

As you see in the above image of our cold smoked salmon, we clearly write “Smoked Irish Salmon”, or  more accurately said “Smoked Irish Organic Salmon”. This means it is salmon that was smoked, and more importantly, sourced in Ireland. We would love to call it “Irish Smoked Irish Organic Salmon”, but that might be taking it a bit too far.

So when the word “Irish” and “Salmon” are written together, it means that you are looking at the real deal – salmon sourced in Ireland.