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Do You Know Where Your Fish Comes From?

April 27, 2010 | 57,000 views
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EconomyInCrisis writes:

fish, china

“The American seafood industry is being flooded with products imported from developing countries, much of which have proven to be contaminated with banned chemicals, poisons, carcinogens and high levels of antibiotics, according to a report by ABC News.

The report found that over 80 percent of the seafood sold in America today is imported, much of it from Third World nations such as China, Vietnam and the Philippines, none of which are known for their food safety standards.”

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

If you’re still eating fish and other seafood on a regular basis, you may want to reconsider, if you value your health. It’s extremely unfortunate, but the truth is that much of the seafood on the market nowadays is barely fit for human consumption due to high levels of contamination.

Chances are You’re Eating Seafood Farmed in China

According to 2008 Congressional testimony by Don Kraemer, Deputy Director of the Office of Food Safety at the FDA, more than 80 percent of the seafood consumed in the US is imported, and over 40 percent of all seafood is produced in aqua-farms.

China is the largest exporter of seafood to the US. (They’re also the largest US supplier of canned vegetables, fruit juices, honey, and other processed foods.)

Kraemer stated that:

“In the past, FDA has encountered compliance problems with several Chinese food exports, including lead and cadmium in ceramicware used to store and ship food, and staphylococcal contamination of canned mushrooms.

While improvements have been made in these products, the safety of food and other products from China remains a concern for FDA, Congress, and American consumers.”

Since that testimony, a variety of Chinese exports have come under fire for being dangerously contaminated with one poison or another, and in some cases lethally so.

But the trend of seafood contamination in general, and why fish can no longer be recommended as a dietary staple, goes beyond contaminated fish from China and other third world countries.

Fish Everywhere is Coming Up Contaminated

The sad truth is that imported fish is not the only fish that is likely to be bad for your health. For example, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study, mercury contamination was detected in EVERY fish sampled in nearly 300 streams across the United States!

More than a quarter of these fish contained mercury at levels exceeding the EPA criterion for the protection of human health – a level that may still be too high to truly protect your health in the long run.

In addition, a previous study on fish from US lakes and reservoirs found that more than half contained excessive levels of mercury -- so much so they were deemed unsafe for children and pregnant women to eat.

But mercury is not the only dangerous contamination to contend with.

The problem with much of the imported seafood is the presence of antibiotics, fungicides, and other chemicals that have been banned in the US. In an ideal world, the FDA would reject any and all contaminated wares, but the FDA inspects less than one percent of our imported seafood.

As reported by EconomyInCrisis.org, Alabama, which has some of the most stringent seafood safety testing, regularly rejects between 50 and 60 percent of imported seafood!

Compounding the problem is the fact that laboratories charged with testing imported foods have little incentive to actually report contamination to the authorities.

That’s right – It’s another case of protecting the client rather than the public.

According to a USA Today report:

“At least 10 percent of the time, the lab finds the shipments contaminated, says David Eisenberg, chairman of Anresco Labs.

Most of the time, the lab tells no one but the importer who's paying for the test, Eisenberg says. The Food and Drug Administration is none the wiser.

The practice has been going on for years, at Anresco and other labs that test imported food. The FDA gets the favorable test results, but failing ones aren't sent to the FDA if importers tell labs not to send them, five lab operators told USA TODAY.

This is not news to the FDA, which regulates most of the imported foods consumers eat. There is no regulation requiring labs to send all tests to the agency. The FDA proposed that in 2004 but never followed through.

Even now, with imported food safety high on Congress' priority list, nobody has proposed closing that loophole. Some lab operators say it should be because it puts the public at risk and forces labs to sacrifice full disclosure in order to retain importer clients.

"We don't lie. We have to do what we have to do to … keep our customers. We're working for the importer," Eisenberg says.

He says the FDA's failure to require labs to submit all test results forces labs to protect importers more than the public.”

When viewed as a whole, this should give you an idea of the potential scale of this problem…

The likelihood that the fish you buy in your local grocery store or restaurant is actually free of dangerous levels of contamination of one kind or another is slim indeed, and this is why I strongly recommend avoiding most fish, other than very small fish (like anchovies and sardines) or wild-caught fish from minimally polluted areas like the Arctic, Antarctic or Alaskan waters.

Farmed Fish May Be Worst of All

Farmed fish, in particular, should be avoided if you treasure your health. (It’s also one of the most unsustainable approaches to farming there is, and has a significant, detrimental impact on the environment.)

All farm-raised fish are fed a concoction of vitamins, antibiotics, and depending on the fish, synthetic pigments, to make up for the lack of natural flesh coloration due to the altered diet. Without it, the flesh of caged salmon, for example, would be an unappetizing, pale gray.

Pesticides are oftentimes also fed to the fish, and toxic copper sulfate is frequently used to keep nets free of algae.

Fish waste and uneaten feed litter the sea floor beneath these farms, generating bacteria that consume oxygen vital to shellfish and other bottom-dwelling sea creatures.

The inevitable result of these modern fish farming practices is an evil circle of disease, antibiotic use, followed by the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains. Disease and parasites, which would normally exist in relatively low levels in fish scattered around the oceans, can run rampant in densely packed fish farms.

Studies have also consistently found levels of PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene and dieldrin, as well as mercury, to be higher in farm-raised fish than wild fish.

What are Your Options?

Sadly, contamination of our oceans and waterways is so great that toxic pollutants are found in ever increasing amounts in wild fish as well, and this is why I don’t advise eating any fish, whether farm-raised or wild-caught, unless you can verify its purity.

What options do you have, then, to get the health benefits of the omega-3 fats in fish, without exposing yourself to pollutants and excessive amounts of antibiotics, and contributing to the decline of the fish population and destruction of the environment?

These days I recommend you get your omega-3 fat from an alternative source like krill oil. Not only are krill (small, shrimp-like creatures) a superior source of omega-3, but they are one of the most easily renewable food resources available, making them an excellent nutritional source from an environmental perspective.

Though I know many of you enjoy fish for the flavor and the health benefits, if you can’t confirm that it’s from a clean, sustainable source, I believe the risks from eating it vastly outweigh the benefits.

[+] Sources and References

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico