Reacting to News on Dangers of Farmed Fish

Today, in the Globe and Mail Newspaper, there was an article warning about the health concerns of eating farmed fish, more specifically tilapia. The title of the article is: “Farmed tilapia may be no better for you than a doughnut.”

Basically, they found that farmed tilapa contained higher level of omega-6 fatty acids (too much is bad for you), and lower level of omega-3 (which we need more of), than wild fish. Apparently, what is done to the fish in the farm (i.e. feeding the vegetable oil, etc…) is not producing healthy fish and, in turn, is not healthy for people who consume this kind of fish.

You can click here to read the entire original article.

As an Asian Canadian, who has been bred and raised about the benefits of fish, this news knocked me back a bit. 3-4 servings per week of steamed fish has been part of my diet since forever. Automatically, my initial response is what kind of fish am I buying at the supermarket? Even if I get the fish fresh, swimming in a tank, could that be from a farm?

Unfortunately, while the article is informative, it did not give details that most consumers would want: how do we know what we buy is farmed or wild? Will it be obviously on the labels? Are there regulations requiring accurate labeling? I think there should be an attempt by the newspaper (writers) to provide answers to these kind of questions.

I did a quick search on blogs, and web, and didn’t find direct answers immediately. Perhaps I should just go directly to stores and ask, and check the labels?

I did find another blog that provides useful information if living in Japan.

If you know of where to find more information on this topic, please give some suggestions.

Thanks,

Patrick Law

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Reacting to News on Dangers of Farmed Fish

  1. that is the most bogus headline I have ever read.

    A fish – is NEVER as bad for you as a doughnut. sheesh.

    and they say that the fish have less of these things than non-farm raised fish – but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t good for you. I wouldn’t worry 🙂

  2. Hello Gina,
    You provide a good dose of reality. Yeh…sometimes I get carried away with these exaggerated headlines. At the other extreme, it’s sort of like saying KFC (now that they don’t use transfat) is suddenly healthy.

    Indeed, the headline makes it sound like fish is suddenly bad for you, and we may as well eat donuts if we eat farmed fish. Perhaps farmed fish may indeed, at least in their research, have as much omega-6 as some junk foods, but fish still contains other nutrients that junk foods don’t have.

    Catchy titles, while they may sound good and grab attention…should they instead be more responsible?

    Still, I hope this brings more attention to farming practices….

    -patrick

  3. Anonymous

    While wild fish is much healthier than farmed fish, I think these reports are presented out of context. Omega 6 fatty acids are not bad for you, they are *essential* fatty acids. The problem is when a person has far more omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids in their diet.

    Farmed fish, unlike red meat (even grass fed red meat) is still much lower in saturated fat. Chemicals in red meat, regardless of fat content or whether or not the meat is grass fed, has been associated with colon cancer. Fish/invertebrate seafood is still the healthiest meat there is.

  4. Hello Anonymous,
    Thanks for visiting this blog and your comments. Yes, I think you and a lot of others I have talked to about this subject…have put it into perspective. Fish is still one of the best food for you in terms of nutritional value, so should we let a headline take away all the things that are good with fish and lump them in a category with donuts? Of course not!

    I wonder if headlines need to take it to such an extreme in order to generate attention and cause certain industries and parties to react and act.

    Overall, I think I still would prefer these warnings, though they can sometimes be in exaggerated form, rather than not getting early enough warning. Are the headlines for the current Maple Leaf cold cut meats accurate? Are we overreacting? Or should there have been more warnings earlier?

    -patrick

  5. XELI

    On the coastal land of Galicia, large companies from Finland Norway are building fishfarms on the coastal land. There are a few in place and are now looking to spred these farms in various places including my home town. I fear that due to Spanish law the people of the towns have no say, even though the majority of us are against this. My personal fears are the long term effects this will have on us as humans and on the potential dangers this new method of breeding fish will have as far as their waste over time, on the natural lives of fish in the seas around these farms, for which local fisherman depend on. These farmed fish are then distributed world wide in one way or another. I am not sure what food is fed to these fish but I fear also that it would be a cheap method that will hinder our selves and produce unhealthy fish that will eventually evolve into the conditions it is bred. This is unnatural and unlawful that man should play God. I would like to fight against this but I am not a scientist or a marine biologist. Please can some one help me in this battle against the giants. I do have media influence and can get the people to unite to protest against this unfair and unjust ruling that has been aproved by the government.

  6. XELI

    As for the above comments, well guess what! we as humans are screwed as long as attitudes as such remain in place. Hello! look at what we have done to our climate through such ignorance. People who are so concerned ONLY about material gain are so SHORT SIGHTED that they will never see the big thorn comming straight up their rear end, till it is too late. Wake up you lot and do something possitve for once that is not primarily for your own selfish being.

  7. Hello XELI,
    Thanks for taking the time to visit this blog.
    Also thanks for bring this topic into a bigger context. Originally, and I think in the original newspaper article that I referenced, I was mainly focused on the nutritional aspects of fish, and how farmed fish may be more unhealthy for consumption.

    Your comments help remind us that this is also an environmental issue. How come your area is influenced by Spanish law? Do your local laws not over rule it or local laws under Spanish law?

    After the original article came out, I haven’t heard as much about this topic in the news, as these days the listeriosis outbreak in Canada and the contamination of Chinese dairy products have dominated the headlines.

    But, you’re right. If we don’t pay attention now, it’ll eventually come back to bite us when it’s too late…and become a bigger, negative headline with victims already claimed…

    -Patrick

  8. I have always love tilapia….Maybe the best I could do is to eat less of this stuff. And you’re right; anything that is too much is bad or unhealthy.

  9. Hello Derek,
    Sorry for my delayed response and thanks for visiting this blog. Welcome!

    I couldn’t help noticing the juxtaposition of your comment content with the title of your name field: ‘Dating Tips from Derek.’ At first glance, I couldn’t figure out how my original post of fish warning had to do with dating? Then I started reading too much and thought that somehow you were suggesting some intimacy with tilapia.

    Hmm….your comments could be true about tilapia, but they could also be true for dating advice too, right? Even though I love, maybe I should tone down my passion and desire a bit, because being too fixated, obsessed, and hooked, can be unhealthy, rendering me consumed.

    Okay….I’m curious..and just have to click your link and check out your site about dating tips. You got me. Why ‘dating tips’ would wander far across many topics and touch upon a small post about tilapia and farmed fish?

    Hmmm…..
    -patrick

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