Top 11 Toxic Seafoods to Avoid
These days when you eat fish, it’s a guessing game as to whether it’s actually good for you. Aside from food poisoning, there’s the issue of which fish are the most toxic. Several popular fish are laden with toxic substances thanks to widespread pollution of oceans, streams, rivers, lakes and creeks. When you eat a toxic fish — which is easy to do — then you become toxic, affecting your health in the long term.
One of the biggest problems with fish today is mercury. Mercury is one of the deadliest heavy metals known to man. It can affect the brain, nervous system and liver. In small amounts it can even be lethal. If you are pregnant, then you have to be even more vigiliant.
Here are the top ten fish to avoid eating. Some sources say you shouldn’t eat more than a serving per month, while other researchers argue that they should be avoided altogether:
- Mahi mahi
- Blue mussel
- Eastern oyster
- Great Lakes salmon
- Gulf Coast blue crab
- Channel catfish (wild)
- Lake whitefish
If you’re pregnant, the Environmental Working Group suggests you avoid:
- King mackerel
- Tuna steaks
- Canned tuna
- Sea bass
- Gulf Coast Oysters
- White croaker
- Largemouth bass
And a note about shrimp.
A new report from Food & Water Watch, “Suspicious Shrimp,” contains the following recommendations:
The Food and Drug Administration must significantly increase physical inspections and testing of imported seafood. To make this happen, Congress must increase funding for inspections. The FDA only inspects about 1.2 percent of all imported seafood, according to the report.
Loopholes in country-of-origin labeling rules should be closed, so that seafood at restaurants and stores is labeled. Natsoulas said about half the seafood sold in grocery stores does not have to be labeled, despite U.S. Department of Agriculture rules about labeling, because it is processed and falls into a loophole in the law.
Consumers should look for wild-caught domestic shrimp, or shrimp farmed in the United States by environmentally responsible operations. (Of course, how can we do this if shrimp is not labeled by origin?) However, if you trust the source of your seafood to be truthful, one way to gauge whether or not shrimp is wild-caught is by price. Wild-caught shrimp will usually cost more.