The Kitchen Think: Fed Up with Tainted Fish


Yet another thing to make me high strung.

I want to eat healthier and Lord knows I’ve been trying. I eat far less meat and pork than I used to…in fact, my family eats so much fish I’m sure my kids feel like Shamu at Sea World.

Now I find out that a lot of the fish that comes into this country may be tainted with antibiotics like chloramphenicol, nitrofurans, fluoroquinolones and quinolones… and other chemicals like malachite green, ivermectin. These gobbledygook chemicals are used to plump up the fish and shrimp and keep them healthy until they can be harvested and shipped to the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration bans all of these chemicals because they are carcinogenic and can cause anemia, birth defects and other health issues.

By the way, I’m getting this download from the consumer advocacy group Food and Water Watch… the people who put out those little Smart Seafood Guide brochures that tell you which fish to eat

Most of the seafood Americans eat comes from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam (80% of the fish and 90% of the shrimp?). We buy it because it’s cheaper. However, the FDA tests less than 2% of imported seafood for chemicals or additives.


Unfortunately, you can’t smell, taste or cook these chemicals out of your food. The best defense: know where your seafood comes from. That’s fine for the fish and shrimp we buy in the grocery store because federal law requires the country of origin to be listed on the packaging and for the stores to know where it came from (just ask). But what about eating out? Most states don’t require restaurants to label or disclose where the fish swam before it ended up on your plate.

So the dilemma: eat only the seafood you cook at home because you’ll know where it frolicked before it became a filet? That”s one idea. Or should you hope that the restaurant knows where that salmon spent its formative years? How do you know what they are telling you is legit? We can’t just live on fish oil tablets. So what’s the answer?

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: