Tilapia raised on feces hits US tables
The garbage fish isn't picky with its eating habits. That makes it cheap to farm and buy, but a big health risk to consumers who don't check its country of origin.
They're a "garbage fish" in every sense of the word. They can survive in hopelessly polluted environments, they can be bred and raised in garbage cans and, when necessary, can subsist on a diet of other animals' excrement.
It makes Tilapia so easily farmed that Americans eat close to 500 million pounds of it a year, according to the Department of Agriculture, or more than four times the amount of Tilapia they ate a decade ago.
It also makes it bland and not particularly healthy for you. When its diet consists of manure, however, it's basically like feeding them salmonella and E.coli.
Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia, notes that the large amount of antibiotics that are given to the fish to ward off infections from the manure -- which is used as a cheap alternative to fish feed -- makes the strains of salmonella and E.coli those fish catch extremely hard to eliminate.
"While there are some really good aquaculture ponds in Asia, in many of these ponds -- or really in most of these ponds -- it's typical to use untreated chicken manure as the primary nutrition," he told MSN News. "In some places, like Thailand for example, they will just put the chickens over the pond and they just poop right in the pond."
That's creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, but it's also creating problems for U.S. eaters who get 82% of their Tilapia from China. Last month it was announced that production of farmed fish had overtaken farmed beef for the first time in recorded history. Large amounts of that production come from farms like those featured in Bloomberg's October piece, titled simply "Asian seafood raised on pig feces approved for U.S. consumers."
According to Bloomberg, 27% of seafood consumed in in the United States comes from China, and yet the FDA only inspects 2.7% of the fish that gets imported. Of the fish inspected, the FDA has reportedly rejected 820 Chinese seafood shipments since 2007, including 187 that contained tilapia.
Yet Tilapia is so cheap and plentiful that it's popularity is still growing among American consumers despite its negligible health benefits. With that in mind, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program suggests buyers consider the source of their Tilapia before making a purchase. While Tilapia raised in the U.S., Canada and Ecuador all pass muster, those from China and Taiwan are iffy alternates.
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Solution= ban imported tilapia. I am sure the US can scrounge enough trashcans to raise a few fish instead of shipping half way around the world.
I'll have a side of radiation deformed vegitables with my three eyed fish dinner please....oh don't forget the craft of fracking fluids to wash it all down.
Yeah, deregulation is what we need more of, and more of this "clean" energy BS.
Anyone else starting to think Big Tobbaco was just a patsy?
I've been telling people for years, that most or a lot of this fish is nothing but fancy carp or bottom feeders.
We had wild caught salmon off the Coast or close by rivers tonight...I had seconds.
Screw these gd junk fish with fancy names...
As a fisherman; I HATE TALAPIA !! Smells like dirt, taste like dirt. The only use I have for that is bait or chum - yuk!!!
Might as well eat grunts- at least they taste ok.
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