Welcome to the blog for Colgate University's interdisciplinary course on food. This is the place to keep up with what students in the course are experiencing in their work at Common Thread Community Farm and through their everyday encounters with food.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Seafood: Be Careful With What You Eat!


Seafood is one of my favorite types of protein to consume. From most types of fish to crab, lobster, and shrimp, I love seafood. With that being said, a recent news article from TIME has suggested that the seafood we think we are consuming (mostly fish) may not be what we think it is.

Fish itself is a high protein, low-fat food that can provide a ton of benefits to those who eat it in moderation. The most helpful aspect of fish is the omega-3 fatty acids that contributes to a healthy heart, and may even be helpful for pre/post natal development. From salmon to anchovies, and many types of fish in between, this type of protein is very beneficial in ones diet and have less negative impacts ecologically. Even some farm-based fish are considered very good in diets.

The benefits of fish are great, especially if you know what you are buying and consuming, but what if the fish you buy is not exactly what you think it is? According to the TIME's article (link provided above), a recent study from 55 different countries found that 1 in 5 fish samples from around the world are mislabeled (25,000 samples tested). That is 20% of the samples tested! When looking at the United States by itself, that number jumps to a 30% fraud rate. Of that 30%, over half of those samples (58%) were found to potentially cause health complications. Because of seafood regulation, certain types of fish have to be screened for toxins and other allergens that could have a negative impact on human health (such as Mercury). With mislabeling, these fish are not being screened at all. In other countries, the numbers jump even higher. In Italy for example, 82% of Grouper, Perch and Swordfish samples that were tested were found to be fraudulent. In Brussels restaurants, 98% of bluefin tuna (one of the nore expensive tunas out there, fisherman being able to sell these fish for $5000-7000 a piece). In the end, from mislabeling practices, the consumers are paying more to eat something that is worth much less.

Recently, President Obama has mentioned that he would address seafood fraud through a trace-ability system. The EU, through increased transparency between suppliers and consumers, has reduced seafood fraud from 23% to 8% in a four year span (2011-2015).

All in all, becareful and mindful with the seafood you purchase and consume!

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