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Nutritional value per 1 sandwich (141 g)
Energy390 kcal (1,600 kJ)
38 g (13%)
Sugars5 g
Dietary fiber2 g (7%)
19 g (29%)
Saturated4 g (19%)
Trans0 g
17 g
Vitamin A240 IU
Vitamin C
0 mg
60 mg
2 mg
560 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Energy from fat170 kcal (710 kJ)
Cholesterol45 mg (15%)

May vary outside US market. 360 kcal (1,500 kJ) in UK. Some restaurants publish nutritional information for the sandwich with the tartar sauce removed.
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[1] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[2]
Source: McDonald's

The Filet-O-Fish is a fish sandwich sold by the international fast food restaurant chain McDonald's.[3] It was created in 1962 by Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchise owner in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio,[4][5] in response to declining hamburger sales on Fridays due to the practice of abstaining from meat on that day. While the fish composition of the sandwich has changed throughout the years to cater to taste preferences and address supply limitations, the framework of its ingredients have remained constant; a fried breaded fish fillet, a steamed bun, tartar sauce and pasteurized American cheese.


The sandwich was invented in 1962 by Catholic businessman Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchise owner in Cincinnati.[4][5] His store at 5425 West North Bend Road[6] was in a predominantly Catholic neighborhood, which led to falling hamburger sales on Fridays resulting from the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays. The product was named by Cye Landy of Cye Landy Advertising Agency, which was the advertising firm for that particular McDonald's franchise.

The sandwich was the first non-hamburger menu item brought in by Ray Kroc, who purchased McDonald's in 1961.[7] Kroc made a deal with Groen: they would sell two non-meat sandwiches on a Friday, Kroc's Hula Burger (grilled pineapple with cheese on a cold bun) and the Filet-O-Fish, and whichever sold the most would be added to the permanent menu. The Filet-O-Fish "won hands down"[8] and was added to menus throughout 1963 until reaching nationwide status in 1965.[9]

In 1981, when an owner of a New Zealand fisheries company was dissatisfied with the pollock Filet-O-Fish he purchased at the Courtenay Place, Wellington restaurant, he said to the manager that he could make a better-tasting fish fillets. He was handed a box of fillets and told to come back with identical, better-tasting fillets. He substituted the pollock with red cod and after the manager was satisfied with the better-tasting red cod fillets, ended up in agreement to supply the Courtenay Place restaurant (and eventually several other New Zealand restaurants) with the red cod fillets. The similar-tasting hoki was substituted several years later, due to its competitive market value and its boneless fillets, and eventually was introduced widely in the early 1990s when global pollock stocks were facing low numbers.[10]

McDonald's removed the Filet-O-Fish from its menus in the United States on September 26, 1996,[11] and replaced it with the Fish Filet Deluxe sandwich, which was part of McDonald's ill-fated Deluxe line of sandwiches. However, the Filet-O-Fish was brought back to its menus on a gradual basis starting in the middle of 1997, due to overwhelming letters and petitions, receiving the larger fish patty from the Fish Filet Deluxe. The Fish Filet Deluxe itself was discontinued at most restaurants early in 1998, while others continued to offer it until 2000, when it was finally removed from all McDonald's menus.

In November 2007, McDonald's lowered the use of New Zealand hoki and increased the use of Alaska pollock, due to declining New Zealand hoki fishery sustainability and large cutbacks in the total allowable commercial catch of hoki by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries - from 250,000 tonnes in 1997 to 90,000 tonnes in 2007.[12] McDonald's originally used Atlantic cod, before declining cod catches forced McDonald's to find sustainable fish elsewhere. McDonald's is trying to maintain fish only from areas certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, but that is becoming more difficult each year. Hoki is still a major ingredient.[13]

As of March 2009, the Marine Stewardship Council[14] placed the Alaska pollock fisheries in a re-assessment program[15] due to catch numbers declining by over 30% between 2005 and 2008, and by-catch problems with salmon.

As of January 2013, the Marine Stewardship Council stated that the pollock comes from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices, and McDonald's packaging and promotion will reflect that change.[16]

In 2019, McDonald's sent a cease-and-desist letter to a small Canadian restaurant that was selling a fish sandwich it called the 'Effing Filet O' Fish'. McDonald's claimed that the restaurant's use of that term violated McDonald's registered 'Filet-O-Fish' trademark. In response, the restaurant agreed to stop using 'Filet O' Fish' to describe its fish sandwich.[17]

Product description[edit]

The fish used for the Filet-O-Fish patty in various markets is as follows:

Half a slice of cheese is used in each Filet-O-Fish sandwich, with McDonald's stating the reason as to prevent the cheese from overwhelming the taste.[23][24][25][26][27]

A Double Filet-O-Fish is available in some regions.[28][29]

Society and culture[edit]

The Filet-O-Fish is often referred to as a burger outside the U.S.,[30] in particular in Australia,[31][32] India,[33][34] New Zealand,[35][36] and the UK.[37][38][39]

Religious observation[edit]

The Filet-O-Fish, originally created for Western Christians observing the Friday Fast, remains popularly associated with this community, with US sales significantly rising around Lent. The practice has inspired other fast food chains to offer seafood options during Lent.[40]

This sandwich is also popular among Jewish and Muslim communities due to its ingredients being more aligned with kashrut and halal rules than McDonald's other offerings.[41][42] The sandwich contains fish, milk in the cheese, and egg yolks in the sauce.[18] In addition, the fish patty is cooked in a separate frypot to avoid giving other items a fishy taste.[43] Certification-wise, the sandwich is certified as halal in the UAE and a few other Muslim-majority countries;[44] it is also available in kosher-supervised restaurants of McDonald's Israel.[45] However, not all Israeli locations are certified and stores in the UK and the US participate in no certification.[46]


In France and Belgium, a variation of the sandwich is sold as the "McFish," using the "Mc-" prefix that McDonald's uses for some of its other products. The French McFish does not include cheese and replaces tartar sauce with ketchup.[47][48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". FDA. Archived from the original on March 27, 2024. Retrieved March 28, 2024.
  2. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154. Archived from the original on May 9, 2024. Retrieved June 21, 2024.
  3. ^ Berger, Arielle (March 1, 2019). "Here's why McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sales skyrocket in March". Beaumont Enterprise. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Why Abstain from Meat on Fridays, but Eat Fish?". Catholic Financial Life. Archived from the original on March 29, 2019. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Clark, Paul (February 20, 2007). "No fish story: Sandwich saved his McDonald's". USA Today. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  6. ^ Amstrong, Patti (March 7, 2019). "How a Catholic Businessman Put the Filet-O-Fish on the McDonald's Menu". National Catholic Register. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
  7. ^ Pepin, Jacques (December 7, 1998). "Burger Meister RAY KROC". Time. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  8. ^ Clark, Paul (February 20, 2007). "No fish story: Sandwich saved his McDonald's". USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  9. ^ "Travel Through Time With Us!". McDonald's. Archived from the original on November 26, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  10. ^ Hepözden, Rosemary (2011). O'Flaherty, Brian (ed.). Golden Arches under Southern Skies: Celebrating 35 years of McDonald's in New Zealand. in co-op with McDonald's Restaurants (NZ) Ltd. Auckland: Renaissance Publishing. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0-9864521-1-6.
  11. ^ "Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  12. ^ Moore, Bill (June 28, 2011). "Hoki fishery rebuilt, quota to rise, says minister". Nelson Mail. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  13. ^ "Daily Finance Article". DailyFinance.com. September 11, 2009.
  14. ^ "Alaska Pollock- Gulf of Alaska". Msc.org. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  15. ^ J Rice; D Bowen; S Hanna; P Knapman (November 12, 2008). "Surveillance Report – Gulf of Alaska Pollock Fishery" (PDF). Moody Marine. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 5, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  16. ^ The Associated Press (January 25, 2013). "McDonald's fish to carry 'sustainable' labeling". NY Daily News. New York. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  17. ^ Wed, Oct 23rd 2019 7:45pm-Timothy Geigner (October 23, 2019). "McDonald's Bullies Local Canadian Burger Joint Over 'Filet O' Fish' Trademark". Techdirt. Retrieved October 24, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ a b "Filet-O-Fish". McDonald's. US. Archived from the original on May 9, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020. FISH FILET PATTY Ingredients: Pollock, Water, [etc]
  19. ^ "What Type of Fish do You use in the Filet-O-Fish®?". McDonald's FAQ. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  20. ^ "Filet-O-Fish". McDonald's. Ireland. Archived from the original on October 4, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2019. Filet-O-Fish - Alaskan Pollock or Hoki served with ½ a cheese slice and tartare sauce in a crisp breadcrumb coating.
  21. ^ "Filet-o-Fish Ingredients". McDonald's. UK. Archived from the original on May 1, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020. Delicious white Hoki or Pollock fish in crispy breadcrumbs, with cheese and tartare sauce, in a steamed bun.
  22. ^ "Filet-o-Fish". McDonald's. New Zealand. Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  23. ^ Mark, Jorie (July 6, 2020). "The reason McDonald's Filet-O-Fish only comes with a half slice of cheese". Mashed.com. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  24. ^ "Why do you only use half a cheese slice in your Filet-O-Fish sandwiches? Has it always been this way?". McDonald's. Canada. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "Has the quantity of McDonald's Filet-O-FishTM changed? Does a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish use a half slice of cheese?". www.mcdonalds.com.hk. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  26. ^ "Why is S'pore McDonald's Filet-O-Fish served with half a slice of cheese?". mothership.sg. January 2, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  27. ^ "why is the fillet o fish served with half a slice of cheese, don't lie bcuz i have photgraphic [sic] evidence". McDonald's. Canada. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012.
  28. ^ "Double Filet-O-Fish". McDonald's Canada. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  29. ^ "Doppel Filet-o-Fish". McDonald's Österreich (in German). Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  30. ^ Ewe, Koh (November 12, 2021). "This Instagram Account Features the Saddest McDonald's Burgers You'll Ever See". Vice. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  31. ^ "Terms and Conditions Maccas Mini Games" (PDF). McDonald's Australia (PDF). January 13, 2020. p. 4. $3 Filet-O-Fish burger offer
  32. ^ Gossling, Bronte (November 23, 2021). "'You killed it!': Chef turns Macca's Filet-O-Fish meal into two-course fine dining experience". kitchen.nine.com.au. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Danny Kim, a food-related content creator who goes by @dannygrubs on the video-sharing platform, approached his friend, chef Ashish Alfred, with a challenge: turn his McDonald's Filet-O-Fish burger, fries and apple pie into a gourmet meal.
  33. ^ Bakshi, Priyaja (July 27, 2021). "Tara Sutaria Enjoys A McDonalds Burger As She Shoots For A New Film". NDTV Food. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  34. ^ "Filet-O-Fish Meal". McDonald's India. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Enhance your taste buds with soothing taste of Filet-O-Fish burger
  35. ^ "Corporate Responsibility | McDonald's New Zealand". mcdonalds.co.nz. Retrieved February 10, 2022. The hoki fish fillets we use to prepare our super-delicious Filet-O-Fish® burgers are renowned for their succulent moist texture, white flesh and great mild taste... We use only skilled professionals to fillet our fish before it's formed into the crumbed, delicious portions we serve you on your favourite Filet-O-Fish burger.
  36. ^ McDonald, Greer (August 19, 2010). "Hook, line and sinker". Stuff. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Little known fact: Martin Bosley, the well-known Wellington chef and restaurant owner, used to work for McDonald's. In fact he loves, nay praises, the fast-food giant, and can't say enough about their Filet-O-Fish burger.
  37. ^ Mal, Nisha (September 4, 2019). "Aldi's new 70p burgers taste just like McDonald's Filet-O-Fish". WalesOnline. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Fans of McDonald's Filet-O-Fish burger have found a new discovery at Aldi, that tastes just as good.
  38. ^ Shakespeare, Stephan (May 24, 2017). "Fast-food icon McDonald's will be able to survive the recent dad ad controversy". YouGov. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Last week, McDonalds came under fire for its latest advert. It showed a young boy and his mother discussing his late father and, while it seems they had little in common, the mother told her son that he and his deceased father shared a mutual love of a Filet-O-Fish burger.
  39. ^ "McDonald's has pulled this 'offensive' TV advert after being accused of exploiting child bereavement". News Shopper. May 17, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2022. Once they arrive at a McDonald's restaurant and the boy orders a Filet-o-Fish burger... Shocked viewers complained on Twitter, saying using death to sell burgers was "disgusting" and "offensive"
  40. ^ Tyko, Kelly. "Lent is Filet-O-Fish season at McDonald's". USA Today.
  41. ^ "Long Live the Filet-O-Fish, the McDonald's Sandwich for Jews". Tablet Magazine. September 20, 2016.
  42. ^ "The Filet-O-Fish Says So Much About Growing Up Muslim". www.vice.com. August 15, 2018.
  43. ^ McDonald's China training material, Production Area, Frying. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  44. ^ "Is there any pork or shellfish in your cheeses, or burger buns, breads?". McDonald's UAE FAQ. Retrieved January 2, 2021. all our food is a 100% Halal
  45. ^ "מיני דג". McDonald's Israel (in Hebrew). Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  46. ^ "Is the sauce used in the Filet-o-Fish® vegetarian and/or halal?". McDonald's UK FAQ. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  47. ^ "LE McFISH". McDonald's. France. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  48. ^ "McFish - McDonald's - 124 g". Open Food Facts. December 27, 2015. Retrieved February 12, 2021.

External links[edit]