Wednesday, November 17, 2010
WARNING! Don't order fish in restaurants
So, one of my pet outrages is in the news tonight. On NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams delivered an NBC special investigation on imported seafood. Seafood imported from Asia and Indonesia has tested tainted with banned chemicals that you can't taste and they don't cook out. If you ate it over time, it could cause anemia or cancer or other serious conditions not determined. They showed a Vietnamese fish farm into which raw sewage flowed, the fish pumped full of antibiotics to counteract it.
Here is a link to the video of Fishy Business on NBC Nightly News
I live in an area full of fishers and lobstermen so there's plenty of fresh catch around. Yet when I was bopping down Main Street early one sunny Saturday morning I saw a box of Haddock marked Product of China delivered to a restaurant in our picture perfect little New England downtown. WTF??
80% of Shrimp, Catfish, Crabmeat and Tilapia are imported. The FDA inspects only 2% of it.
Grocery stores are required to identify the origin of fish and seafood, but restaurants are not. So it was really demoralizing to see one of the best restos in town hastily pulling a box of frozen Chinese haddock inside.
I demand, require, insist that our food be safe. It's a common practice to let tainted imported food into the country because everyone makes so much money on it. The trade group for imported food says it's only publicized as a "trade issue." Well, ya-a-a... There's something wrong with the model that a product from 8-10 thousand miles away can be sold more cheaply than it can be produced and distributed domestically. The overseas suppliers knowingly rely on unsafe practices. Why do we put up with this? And the restaurants know this and they use the imported fish anyway because it's cheaper. Can you imagine what's in those fish sticks and sandwiches in fast food dives?
First line of defense. Before ordering fish or seafood in a resto, ask the waiter about it's origin. If you don't get a good answer or any answer at all, don't order it and tell them why. Don't buy seafood in the market if it's point of origin is Asia or Indonesia. And tell the management why.
I'm not a label reader. I'm an omnivore. I love fish and seafood and eat a lot of it. But it pays to be picky.
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.
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