Saturday, December 22, 2012

Organic Seafood, No Such Thing

"There are no U.S. governmental organic standards for seafood."1
So, if a label says "Organic," it was vetted by some country or organization outside of the US, using standards that Food and Water Watch say have little meaning.

For example, some European standards:
  • Fail to prohibit or minimize use of wildcaught fish in industrially produced fish feed.
    • Because the lives of wild fish cannot be controlled, they can never be considered true organic products.
    • For seafood production to be sustainable, the amount of wild fish used to produce farmed fish has to be kept to a minimum.
  • Allow the use of antibiotics and other chemicals.
    • EU regulation states that, “chemically synthesized allopathic veterinary medicinal products including antibiotics may be used where necessary…” (Article 15, 1, f(ii)). The use of immunological veterinary medicines is also allowed (Article 15, 1, f(iii)).
  • Fail to protect surrounding environment from pollution.
  • Fail to adequately regulate waste disposal.
  • Allow unsustainable use of water resources.
  • Allow "net pens," huge cages filled with farmed fish in the open ocean, which cause environmental damage and allow fish to escape into the wild.

"Organic" seafood is a marketing ploy. One, I'm afraid, the Organic Consumers Association has bought into.

Making seafood choices is difficult. Jill Richardson, in her article, "Yuck: Our Seafood Is Loaded With Unspeakably Gross Pollutants. Some Of Our Most Popular Seafood Treats Come To Us From Filthy Operations In Other Countries," says:
"91 percent of U.S. seafood is imported, and half of that is farmed."

"It's not just antibiotic residues on the seafood. It's also antibiotic-resistant microbes that come with the fish or the shrimp. ... A primary source of salmonella is the raw manure that is used to feed the shrimp and fish."

"All the human waste, and all of the waste from cities… it's all going into the river and the river is the source of the water [for fish farms].”

"What happens when a shipment of filthy or toxic seafood shows up in a U.S. port? Most likely, nothing." (Japan inspects 12-21% of seafood imports, the European Union 20-50%, the US less than 2%.)

"Once the FDA rejects a shipment of seafood, “they don't destroy the product,” ... It can go out on the ship and come in on another port."

"Even worse, because other importing nations have stricter regulations than the U.S., “the best quality fish goes to Europe and Japan and Canada, and we get lower quality products here."
Seafood sure isn't what it used to be.
1 European Organic Aquaculture Certification, Fact Sheet, Food and Water Watch, September 2008.
Graphic from This Magazine: Why Your So-called "Organic" Farmed Salmon Probably Isn't


Angela and Melinda said...

I remember when you talked about similar pollution and travel conditions for imported seafood several years ago. It really was utterly disgusting. As I recall, it was an interview with an ex-govt. employee.

Rachel Matteson said...

Thanks for this information. I was also wondering about it because all I know is that there is what we call as fattening but I am not really sure how they get on with the process of fattening though. One things for sure, seafood is not like livestock which can easily be manipulated or controlled in terms of production and growth.

Bix said...

The seafood industry is a mess. I mean, we've depleted a lot of the, I don't know what to call them, schools?, of wild fish leaving us to farm them. These fish farms are like floating CAFOs! The challenges are steep, but I think contained aquaculture, the kind where they incorporate plants and other species like fowl, more like an ecosystem, would work.

Anonymous said...

I am a forced vegetarian , including eggs and milk products since the past 2 months and I have never felt better.

For milk I still use Almond milk - which I am still debating weather I should continue.

I have never felt better with the change and must confess that I have withdrawal symptoms. It also makes give you fewer options to eat, but when you think the abdominal pain that one goes through after eating Bagel and cream cheese, the cream cheese has its rightful place in the trash.

Seafood, wild as well as farmed has the same ecosystem - think of metal crap and industrial waste in river beds and a lesson that needs to spread around = FDA is no qualified in any way, but just a political spokeperson that determines trades and revenue ...

chow !
Happy Holidays Bix.

Bix said...

Anrosh ... a joy hearing from you.

A forced vegetarian ... does that mean there is no meat to be had?

Anonymous said...

from eating "everything that moves" to no meat . Alas !