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There’s nothing quite like frying or grilling up a fresh piece of fish, coating it in a little butter and lemon juice, and catching the faint taste of…animal feces? That’s right. The farm-raised seafood you’re eating might come with a little something extra, but it’s not something you want in your dinner.
To save money and ship out as much seafood as possible, some seafood exporting companies in Asia have been caught feeding their fish chicken and pig feces.
The Dirty Truth
This seems like something out of a horror novel, but the state of the Asian seafood market wasn’t dreamed up in a writer’s head. This situation was uncovered by reporters who found out that the FDA approves shipments that have been grown in these awful conditions.
Americans eat plenty of shrimp, which means that many of your friends and family could be at risk. Currently, Vietnam exports approximately 100 million pounds of shrimp to the United States every year.
This accounts for almost 10% of shrimp consumed by Americans each year. This shrimp is often sorted in dirty packing facilities, where trash piles up on the ground and flies swarm over the warm, uncleaned shrimp. Even worse are the conditions in which shrimp is transported. Packing plants cover shrimp in ice made from water that isn’t fit to drink—imagine what hours or days of transport can do to that shrimp you’re about to eat.
Fish that comes from China may be similarly contaminated. In one tilapia farm in China—and who knows how many more—farmers feed fish with feces gathered from pigs and geese. As dead fish float to the surface and contaminate the still-living fish nearby, dead fish are simply picked out and tossed away. Fish farmers report that it is cheaper to feed feces to fish than to use commercial fish feed.
Keeping Your Food Supply Safe
Before you go throw out all the seafood you have in your freezer and refrigerator, take a minute to find out how you can keep your family safe. You don’t have to skip seafood for the rest of your life, especially with all the health benefits it offers. Instead, use these tips to eat fresh, well-fed seafood:
Stick to wild-caught fish.
. Fish that is grown in a farmed environment, rather than caught naturally, has higher levels of dioxins, PCBs, and heavy metals. You may have to spend more to get wild-caught fish, but it’s worth it.
Fish that is shipped from overseas may have little oversight and many health concerns. Buying from American fisheries can minimize your risk of eating contaminated fish.
When buying fish, look for fish that has clean, shiny, well-colored gills. They should be fairly firm—fish that have sat too long tend to be softer.
Keep tasty and healthy seafood in your diet, but make sure you’re eating healthily with these tips!