For years I have tried to raise international awareness of the menace of Surströmming, fermented herring. Now, Swedish police has faced the reality of Surströmming terror. The police closed off a whole street after hearing reports of a gas leak only to find a stash of fermented herring.
An army of police, fire trucks and an “emergency gas leak team” descended upon the on the Södermalm building only to find Swedish surströmmingsskiva, their name for Surströmming.
It is described as as a “decidedly non-piquant shark odor . . . resembling “a well fermented urinal on a hot summer’s day.” People first smell it and then, in a rejection of decades of rational actor theory, eat it.
This would make for an interesting nuisance lawsuit when the very smell of your food is making people ill. It certainly diminishes the use and enjoyment of one’s property though the manufacturer could claim that the food is a national tradition and touchstone of Swedish culture. The question is whether the manufacturer should have to use a closed manufacturing system to contain the Surströmming. For private makers of Surströmming, the creation of this dish may be best left to factories in remote locations like the top of Kebnekaise mountain.
As a general rule, I find foods that pass for major gas leaks to be best left on the “do not eat list.” It also explains the failure of those fastfood “Surströmming Shacks” that tried to open around the country.