Dangerous Foods Seafood Tops the List

by Michelle Frey

February 23, 2009

Ignorance is bliss! Sometimes I wish I didn’t know that cookies were bad for me or that fruits were doused in pesticides. Then, I could indulge in my sweet tooth without having the associated guilt. But, the reality is—by knowing and being smart about your food choices—you will be better off in the long run. You may just save yourself a trip to the doctor, avoid that stomach ache, stay healthier and live longer.

A recent story on listed the ten most dangerous foods to eat. It was definitely an eye-opener. Out of the ten foods, three of them were seafood—farmed salmon, Chilean sea bass and bluefin tuna. flags the seafood for their high levels of mercury and PCB contamination as well as environmental factors. All three seafood made the Greenpeace red list as well. We are glad the word is getting out that consumers should avoid these foods for health and environmental reasons. Avoid eating these three fish to help the ocean—it’s a small sacrifice to make!

The salmon you purchase in the store is most likely farm-raised since the wild fish is nearly extinct. Salmon is such a popular fish, that the majority of it found on seafood shelves has been farm-raised. This creates a whole host of problems for the ocean. Salmon farms may use pesticides and antibiotics to control outbreaks of disease among the fish. Chemicals and waste from most salmon farms are released directly into waters surrounding the farms—polluting the oceans, damaging habitat and putting other sea life in jeopardy. And, when YOU eat farmed salmon, you may also be eating residues from chemicals used in the farms. Ick. I wouldn’t want to be ingesting that.

Chilean sea bass has become so popular that the fish populations cannot keep up with the demand. And, unless people stop eating Chilean sea bass, it may be commercially extinct within five years. Pirate fishing is a huge problem with this fish. Not only do the pirates pillage the fish, they also destroy the habitat and other sea life with their reckless behavior and unregulated fishing.

Bluefin tuna is such a delicacy that an individual fish can be worth over $30,000.00 at the Tokyo fish auction. That being said, I’m sure you or I will not see a bluefin tuna at our grocery store or restaurant. Tuna has such a high price tag that fishermen will catch them by any means necessary. There are so few left that they are catching younger and younger tuna. This doesn’t allow the fish to reproduce and bounce back from being overfished. They are also the target of pirate fishing. The methods in which tuna are caught also threaten to injure or kill sea turtles and marine mammals.

If people aren’t buying the red list fish like the ones mentioned here, then supermarkets will not buy them and put them in their seafood counters. It’s up to us to shop responsibly and make our wallets work for us—how we spend our money CAN help the environment. We just have to keep ourselves educated and embrace the truth instead of running from it.  



We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.