Over 90 percent of the seafood purchased in the US is from foreign countries. Over 30 percent of our catch in American is sold to foreign markets. Why? It’s all about money. Americans are sacrificing quality and safety for cheaper prices.
We import food from the waters of China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam because labor in these countries is dirt cheap. On the other hand, American fisherman export to get top prices for their catch outside the United States.
Over 50% of our imported seafood is farm raised. That increases the chance for water-borne disease, use of unsafe additives and inadvertent chemicals that contaminate the waters from industrial refuge. In fact, a study done by North Carolina State University in 2013 showed that twenty-five percent of seafood tested from mainly China and Vietnam were contaminated with formaldehyde. This chemical is carcinogenic. It is being used illegally to preserve the fish. Refrigeration is these countries is a problem so formaldehyde is used to give the product “freshness.” And by the way, this chemical is used as an embalming agent for corpses. It keeps the body from decaying after death. Now doesn’t that sound appetizing?
Here is the study article:
As our US economy continues to deteriorate, citizens will find new ways to cut costs when shopping for “food.” Since seafood has become more popular, what difference does it make if the shrimp looks the same whether it’s from an Asian country or the U.S.? Why not purchase the cheaper foreign product? Reason being, substandard quality and the increased risk for toxic contamination allowing these “pretty poisons” to taint our bodies.
Seafood consumption in the United States from 2012 show that each American ingests 16 lbs a seafood yearly compared to 80 lbs of chicken and 58 lbs of beef. Even though so little of seafood is eaten, it’s the larger contributor to food poisoning in the US reported by the federal agency called the CDC (Center For Disease Control and Prevention).
Seafood examination is under the control of the FDA. This agency has been underpaid and overwhelmed with too many responsibilities for decades. The FDA only samples about 2% of imported fish for contamination. They reject less than 0.3% of what they audit for contamination. To put that into perspective, for every 10,000 pieces of seafood the FDA audits, they only reject 6 pieces. Renovating Your Mind‘s finds this type of surveillance appalling.
Please do not depend on the FDA to ensure your safety with food. Be proactive and utilize Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay Aquarium which is updated constantly. It’s an unbiased source of information on safe and healthy seafood. The site is:
There is also apps available for your Android and Apple phones under the same title.
Save money purchasing locally caught fish that have been frozen. You can find some great seafood, at reasonable prices. Please support your local seafood stores.
Photo credit: JD Hancock / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)