Seafood is an important part of a healthy diet. Lately I have been trying to eat a little better by eating more fruit, veggies and seafood. But it’s hard to be healthy when everything you are eating is a potential health hazard.
I read an article yesterday on wild caught salmon that really made me wonder:
What???? Yes folks, the salmon you are eating may be contaminated with:
Prozac, Advil, Benadryl, Lipitor, even cocaine. Not to mention Flonase, Aleve and Tylenol. Paxil, Valium and Zoloft. Tagamet, OxyContin and Darvon. Nicotine and caffeine. Fungicides, antiseptics and anticoagulants. And Cipro and other antibiotics galore. This is from sewage treatment wastewater and is found in young chinook salmon. Experts from the area are not that concerned because humans don’t eat young chinook salmon, but how do we know that other fish are not contaminated by this drug soup? 250 million salmon were caught in Puget sound this year. So how can we not be concerned?
Ok, you think to yourself, I will just eat farm raised salmon. That won’t be contaminated. Guess again. Besides antibiotics, now the government will be allowing GMO salmon. That’s right-as we are starting to turn away from GMO crops, we are now turning to GMO fish. Yes, Frankenfish is on your dinner table. And the kicker? The company who raises these fish-Aquabounty- is not required by the FDA to label them as GMO. That’s right. There are some stores that refuse to sell it-Safeway, Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Notice Walmart is not on this list. Big surprise. Read more on this here.
Ok, you say, I will just skip the salmon and buy shrimp. I love me some fried shrimp. Well…..I hate to break it to you folks, but Consumer reports just put out an article stating that 60 percent of 342 samples of frozen shrimp it tested contained Salmonella, Vibrio, Listeria, or E. coli, and 2 percent tested positive for the superbug MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Nearly all (94 percent) of the raw shrimp available in the U.S. are farmed in Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. Because of the crowded and polluted conditions that typically exist in fish-farming ponds or tanks, the shrimp are often given antibiotics such as tetracyclines, which is illegal in shrimp imported to the U.S.
Ok, so what can I do to find safe seafood, you ask? Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood watch has a website that makes recommendations on how to buy sustainable, safe seafood. However, this is not always feasible. Not only can it be expensive to buy wild caught fish but it might not be available in every store or restaurant. So what do you do?
Here’s my take on it. These days, every time you put food in your mouth you are taking a risk. Whether it’s seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit-there is some contamination in all of our food these days. It’s a sad reality.
I say, pick your poison. Just like the “bacon will kill you” article a few months back, use some common sense. Eating all of these things in moderation is the ticket. If you are relatively healthy, your body can handle most of these things.
Here are a few tips:
- refrigerate raw meats and seafood and keep under 40 degrees. If you are not going to eat fresh seafood or meat, freeze it until you are ready to use it. But not indefinitely.
- Use one cutting board for raw meats and one for fruits and vegetables. Clean cutting boards with hot soapy water.
- Cook seafood and meats thoroughly. I am not in the camp that says you can’t eat a rare steak, lamb chop or a pink pork chop. But raw burgers and rare chicken are a big no no.
- Try to buy wild caught sustainable seafood, or responsibly farmed seafood. This website will give you some pointers.
- Don’t leave healthy meats, vegetables and fruits out of your diet because of fear. Be informed, educated and aware. But don’t be fooled.
Sorry Charlie, I still plan on eating salmon and shrimp. And bacon too.