Thursday, December 06, 2007

Imported Seafood

The Eastpointer

“Imported Seafood - Unhealthy”

By Richard E. Noble

Well, golly gee, I never would have guessed but believe it or not imported seafood may be hazardous to your health - and your kids’ health, and your future kids’ health, and your kids still in the womb health, and your grandmother’s health. Yes, yes the whole family. My, my ... it is so hard to believe. Don’t we have government people checking on this stuff?
Ah, actually, no we don’t. Less than one percent of imported seafood is inspected in the U.S.
Alabama is one of the few states who check according to an ABC commentary and they reject 50% to 60% of what they see.
Why does it get rejected? Well sometimes the fish is just plain unhealthy; other times it is filled with banned or even poisonous chemicals; sometimes the imported seafood contains banned additives; sometimes it contains chemicals and antibiotics used in aquaculture farming to enhance growth and postpone death in their products that may in the long run have just the opposite effect on you and your longevity; sometimes it contains “malachite green” a fungicide that “studies show” may cause cancer and birth defects; it may be that the fish is actually being raised in raw sewage.
And when the importers get caught using something bad in their aquaculture formula or in their packing and processing techniques, they simply change what they are using and put in a different bad & hazardous thing. And they get away with it because they are confident that the U.S. won’t have enough inspectors to catch it. These foreign producers just don’t care, says this article from ABC.
But I would like to suggest that today’s foreign producer is probably last years American producer who left our shore because he didn’t like obeying our rules, regulations, safety requirements, or paying U.S. taxes or wages. So don’t think “local” think “global”. It may not be “them” it may be “us”. It could be YOU!
The world is now filled with conglomerates and multi-nationals. You may be getting a dividend check from some of these “terrible” people right now. Your investment portfolio or retirement package may contain stocks from these very companies operating all over the world exploiting the poor, poisoning the average, destroying the environment, polluting the oceans and ground water and enriching the better-off and the wealthy.
It seems that in today’s highly supported and much praised global economy, there may be a glitch or two - like huge domestic unemployment, the loss of high paid skilled jobs, loss of necessary industry, destructive and negative competition, massive pollution, unhealthy imports, dwindling exports and a disintegrating middle class being just a few.
I was reading a biography of George Meany, the labor union boss recently and he posed a rather interesting question, I thought. He wanted to know if a great nation could survive on an economy where everyone was shining each others shoes. He was making reference to the service industry replacing our once powerful industrial industry. It was once the case that 80% of America’s economy was industrial and 20% services. Today it is exactly the reverse. We are in effect shining each others shoes - you remodel my bathroom and I mow your lawn.
A few years back I was investigating this issue of imported seafood. At first I thought the destruction and lack of interest in seafood workers and the seafood industry was a local issue. But then I began getting information from all over the United States. Not just from the Gulf States but from the east coast and the west coast. It seemed that the fishing and seafood industry all over America was on the decline and much of the decline was not due to the local issues entirely but actually the National policy.
It did seem that our Federal and then consequently our state Government because they are attached at the wallet, were not on the domestic fishermen’s side in most of these issues. A few dollars did trickle down here and there but it was clear that the big money and the heavy support was going offshore. The foreign fishing lobbies were big business.
And now we see the results - 80% of our seafood is imported and 50 to 60% of it is not healthy or even recommended for eating.
We are told by all the health experts to eat more seafood and 80% is imported and 60% at minimum is contaminated or disease infested.
One of the Alabama fish inspectors is quoted in this ABC article as saying that if it is imported, he wouldn’t even eat it - and he would advise other Americans to do the same.
Wow, aren’t you glad you live here on pristine Apalachicola Bay? I think I’ll buy some nice Gulf shrimp from one of our shrimpers or local dealers or take a walk out on the Eastpoint pier and catch me a few fresh Whiting or Spotted Sea Trout. See you out there.

Richard E. Noble has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.