Stories about radioactive tuna from the 2011 Fukushima meltdown that showed up 6,000 miles away on California’s shores sounded too crazy to be true.
The FDA said the radiation was nothing to worry about in the United States, since you’d have to eat pounds of the stuff before being affected. But according to a 2011 Government Accountability Study, the FDA only inspects .1% of the fish we import for consumption.
Most big fish contain mercury, a neurotoxic byproduct of coal production. And according to Consumer Reports, 80% of the fish we eat comes from other countries where, “about half of that is farmed fish, which may contain disease-causing bacteria, residues of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals.”
It’s statistics like these that have caused me to re-think what was once a fairly regular sushi habit.
Another reason is the fact that most big fish—including tuna—contain mercury, a neurotoxic byproduct of coal production. The scary thing about mercury—besides the fact that it is damage the brain and central nervous system—is that bioaccumulates, which means it stays in the body and can be passed on to our kids through pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Now we’ve got problems with salmon, too: Typically treated with pink dye for a “fresh” color, farmed salmon are infecting wild salmon populations with viruses, according to the Organic Consumers Association. And despite the objections of more than 40 members of Congress and 500,000 American consumers, the FDA is now poised to approve the first genetically engineered salmon for sale in the United States.
Resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Guide make finding safer fish choices easier than ever, but you may want to consider additional protein and omega-3 sources while you’re pregnant or nursing.
I’m neither, but suddenly sushi seems far less appetizing.