Monday, October 22, 2012

Fish Labeled "Organic" Not Necessarily Wild

Beware of misleading information when you're shopping for environmentally friendly fish choices.

Raw salmon steak with lemon wedges and rosemary sprig.
Do you know where your salmon got its pink color?

Do you know the true origin of the fish you purchase? You might think you do when you see phrases like, “Enjoy our ocean-free fish!” or “No wild contaminants, completely organic!” But these are actually examples of misleading information increasingly popular with wholesalers, grocery stores and restaurants wanting to hide the origin of the fish they sell.

One-third of the fish sold today are raised in tanks and cages. This “aquaculture” is one of the fastest-growing sectors of animal food production, and like inhumanely raised chickens, farmed fish harm the environment and our health.

Farm-raised salmon eat an unnatural diet of fish oil from limited species, soy beans, canola oil and red dye. This produces flabby, bright pink meat with less omega-3 fats (associated with decreasing inflammation), more omega-6 fats (associated with inflammation) and elevated levels of mercury. Wild salmon get lots of exercise and enjoy a varied diet including shrimp and krill, which gives salmon its famous pinkish color.

Like any animal kept in close quarters, disease, sewage and parasites are a major problem for the fish and its surroundings. Farm-raised fish receive large doses of antibiotics to keep them alive until adulthood, the same forms used to treat human illnesses. Waste from fish pens generates high levels of mercury, nitrogen and sea lice, all of which threaten neighboring wildlife and the whole ecosystem. Farmed fish have significantly higher levels of pollutants, including dioxins and PCB’s, which can cause reproductive failure, hormone imbalances and cancer in humans.

Farm-raised fish might be cheaper at the register but at what cost to the environment, all sea life and human health? We are at the end of this food chain, therefore the old adage “You are what you eat,” comes to mind.

— Angela Waco, MS, dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

FALL 2016
Have questions about a program?
Request information »

More Health Tips

Here are some tips on how to embrace the “barbie” while minimizing detrimental effects on our environment and health.

Take your enjoyment of the outdoors while camping to the next level by making delicious, sustainable food that's both good for you and the planet.

Don't let the pressure of planning a big vacation prevent you from taking a break. Here are four resources to help you take a "vacation" that won't break the bank or your stress level.

Talk about food for thought! These delicious foods can help fuel your body and your mind.

The farm-to-table trend is more than a buzzword. Here are the numbers to support the benefits of buying from your local farmers market or CSA.

The chemicals found in many conventional cleaners can range from mildly irritating to carcinogenic or downright damaging to your body and the environment. Do yourself and the planet a favor by making your own using safe, natural products.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This is a human test to prevent automated spam submissions. Enter the four-letter 'word' in the image.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.