Some pretty interesting stuff from this article on choosing which fish to eat!
About 86 percent of our seafood is imported, and half of that is from aquaculture—fish farms.
In Vietnam, shrimp is stored in dirty plastic tubs, covered in ice made from tap water that could be contaminated with bacteria. Vietnam ships more than 100 million pounds of shrimp to the United States each year or about 8 percent of all the shrimp we eat.
In China, many fish farms reportedly use pig manure as feed, which contains salmonella and makes tilapia more susceptible to disease.
In addition, “shrimp farms in South and Southeast Asia are essentially factory farms, with all that implies—including antibiotic overuse,” according to a Wired piece
published earlier this year. Many of the antibiotics in these fish farms are banned for use in the U.S.
Even after this testimony, a 2011 GOA report
found that the FDA tested about 0.1 percent of all imported seafood products for drug residues. To put this in perspective: out of 2.5 million metric tons of imported shrimp, the FDA tested only 34 samples for nitrofurans. Even worse: six of these samples came back positive.
A recent study
by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a quarter of the food-borne illness outbreaks from imported food involved seafood. That’s significantly more than the next food type on the list.
That doesn’t mean you should avoid seafood altogether. There are some steps you can take now to continue to enjoy safe, healthy fish and shrimp. Here are some tips:
- The best course of action for consumers could be to avoid farmed fish. Look for sustainable seafood, wild caught, or eco-labeled.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your local seafood provider questions and create dialogue.
- Use seafood guides to stay informed and make smart choices in your area.
Check out these organizations:
The INCOFISH Project
has a summary of international seafood guides and a searchable database to look up seafood by name, country or continent.
The Seafood Choices Alliance
works with conservation groups worldwide and offers seafood recommendation guides, aquaculture and fisheries resources and links to conservation organizations working on seafood and other issues.
The National Resources Defense Council
offers a Sustainable Seafood Guide with tips for making smarter seafood choices.
is a sustainable seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems by providing resources for consumers and industry leaders.