Yes. The patented method was tested in Germany by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in 2014-15 under strict conditions and the results were conclusive - the fish are not harmed. The process has the backing of both CODEX (the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) and the WSCS (the World Sturgeon Conservation Society). It relies on highly controlled conditions, expert husbandry knowledge and perfect timing. At present, Mark Addey is one of only a tiny handful of people in the world sufficiently skilled in the technique.
Once mature, our sturgeon might produce Caviar annually, though each has their own individual cycle. When the time is right, we carefully monitor them to make sure we find the optimum point to retrieve the eggs so as not to cause them any stress.
We are working with the World Sturgeon Conservation Society to retire our sturgeon at around 25 years old to places of natural habitat - that leaves the fish around 2/3rds of their natural lifespan to enjoy their retirement.
Our Sturgeon are raised in our unique 5* farming facility on the outskirts of Leeds. Our large, circular tanks are fed with pure, filtered Yorkshire spring water which is continually monitored and changed daily, and they are located in individually light and temperature controlled rooms which recreate seasonal conditions.
Our fish enjoy the best possible diet. The taste of Caviar depends hugely on what the fish has been eating, and the water they have been kept in. Our sturgeon are fed using only the highest quality food, and are kept in pure, filtered Yorkshire spring water.
Caviar farming is all about quality and controls, and we have implemented the most stringent of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and SALSA Food Safety standards in our state of the art facilities. We employ the services of a Food Technologist, a HACCP consultant and Professional Food Hygiene Advisors, and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and the Local Trading Standards Bodies have helped us to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. The Farm also has annual audits from SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification and testing company, who conduct quality assurance inspections and testing.
If you mean is it of a lesser quality, the answer is a definitive “no”. You decide whether you prefer it to standard Caviar! Our method results in a superb, particularly clean and pure Caviar. This means that KC Caviar doesn’t need preservatives like Borax, which is a common addition to traditional Caviar. Nor do we use a heat treatment with chemicals to harden the eggs, which removes valuable proteins and liquids.
There is a further benefit from our technique. The taste of Caviar improves with the age of the fish and the corresponding size of the eggs so, as our sturgeon will continue to mature to their early retirement, our Caviar will just keep getting better and better.