Wednesday, April 14, 2010

US Seafood: 80% Imported, 1% Inspected

And when the FDA does inspect, "it frequently finds filthy fish and banned chemicals."

Seinberg sent this:

"50% to 60% of all fish imports in Alabama are rejected."
That's incredible. How much seafood would the US be rejecting if it inspected more than 1% of imports? (Maybe that's why we don't inspect.)
"Consumers may be getting a dose of antibiotics with their seafood dinner."
I wonder if this reduces beneficial gut bacteria. If so, it would impact bowel function and nutrient absorption.

Alabama's Commissioner of Agriculture "witnessed fish farmed in sewage!" As if that was disgusting. We farm a lot of our produce and grains in sewage sludge. But the EPA turns a blind eye because they can't come up with a better way to dispose of it.

There are people in this country fighting to prevent increasing that 1% inspection rate. Some want to do away with inspections and government interference entirely. I'm not one of them.


caulfieldkid said...

Who says Alabama is last in everything?

This really is pretty disturbing. It reminds me of the phrase "pay the piper." We may be getting cheaper fish from abroad/developing countries but only in the temporal sense. Whether it's on a personal or societal level, the piper will eventually be back for retribution.


Bix said...

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that about Alabama: "One of the few states with a seafood safety testing program." Maybe you have a domestic fish industry that's protecting its market? Catfish? I don't know.

There's a food safety bill that may come up for a vote in the Senate in a few weeks, S510. Among other things, it increases inspections of foreign facilities registered to import food. There's a lot of opposition to this bill because people are concerned businesses will lose money.

caulfieldkid said...

We do have catfish farms, though Mississippi is the leader in that industry. It's my understanding that shrimp is our most important catch (out of the Gulf of Mexico).

I don't think I know enough to have a solid opinion on the legislation, but I do think something needs to be done and soon.

Bix said...

If we want safer food, we're going to have to pay for it, either through taxes or through the price of goods.

I suppose you could argue that businesses could be more efficient. But with the amount of food we're producing, with more needed in the future, I don't know how you do that.

Anrosh said...

we all know that some politicians own companies - heinz and john mc cain for eg. High fructose Corn syrup, the main ingredient for tomato ketchup. and every table has salt, pepper and ketchup to season its food.

has the heinz company faced any questioning - inspite of the knowlege of HFCS. I guess that's the way with all food companies.

Until and Unless the food reaches the shelf and people buy it of the rack, gets contaminated and lands up in the neighborhood emergency, nobody wants to look up - because it is a matter of jobs, business and economics.

i saw jamie oliver's food revolution - and i am not surprised to see the resistances by certainpeople.

Bix said...

The more I read about economics, globally, the better I understand why things are the way they are.

Anrosh, I was curious, since you have an Indian perspective ... would you say it's easier to change things through government, through regulations? Or privately, through the market?

caulfieldkid said...


As you know, I'm generally in favor of letting the market work things out. The use of activism and private certification etc. is my preference.

With that being said, this is the type of situation that presents a problem. Usually an industry has incentive not to harm its purchasers (after all, if you start hurting/killing people with your product you wont be selling much of it tomorrow). But in this case, the harm is done over a long period of time. Those receiving profit don't have to worry about financial repercussions on their watch. They can leave it for someone else to worry about down the road.

There might be some free market solutions to the problem; I just haven't researched/thought about the issue enough. But then again, this might be a case where the government needs to make sure the industry's "fist ends where my nose begins."


I'm also interested in your thoughts on this. What do you say?


Anrosh said...

Bix, Shaun - Give me sometime to articulate my thoughts on this and will write it as a post, it may be a lengthy one.

Anrosh said...

finally i got around to posting the answer to your question