Yesterday, a grossed-out tipster sent us a few photos of a fish exchange between Bob Gosman Company Inc. and Upper East Side gourmet market Agata & Valentina that resulted in some hefty seafood being left on the sidewalk, unattended, for upwards of ten minutes. And while that fish will most likely be skinned and filleted so that no street-contaminated meat will be sold, we were more concerned that ten minutes on a hot sidewalk could mean rancid meat. But a friendly employee at Bob Gosman assured us that no such thing could happen because of "the hour rule."

The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told us that the fish in question was most likely swordfish, so contamination would "not be a problem, because the skin is on. Nothing goes through that skin." As for the lengthy sidewalk stay, he said, "Unless it wasn't properly refrigerated and the fish weren't iced down, ten minutes is not enough time for any bacteria spores to grow. The basic rule of thumb is an hour, believe it or not, before bacteria or stuff forms. We call it 'the hour rule.' Ten minutes is not going to mean a hill of beans, even on an 80 degree day." So rest easy, Manhattanites, knowing that while the images were jarring, this is how all of your fish gets to your plate.

Our friend at Gosman had a few more fish-tidbits for us, like when swordfish are delivered fresh, "even after an hour, the meat is still alive. It vibrates. It's freaky." And if you suspect your swordfish has started to turn, look for a yellow color. That means it's probably about two weeks old.