Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 May

Grocery Store Seafood: What to Eat and What to Avoid

fishmarketIn the comment section of last week’s post on farmed seafood, readers asked about the safety of regular, everyday seafood that you can find in any supermarket in the country – the popular, easily obtainable species that conventional supermarkets proudly display on ice, in frozen sections, and in cans and packets. Not crayfish, New Zealand green lipped mussels, and boutique tank raised Coho salmon, but tilapia, cod, and crab. They may not be ideal or as sexy as some of the species from last week, but they are common.

So – what’s common? To make this as objective and universal as possible, I’ll examine the ten most common seafoods consumed by Americans. As of 2009, they were, from most eaten to least eaten: shrimp, canned tuna, salmon, pollock, tilapia, catfish, crab, cod, clams, and pangasius. Shrimp I’ll cover in depth next week, catfish and clams were handled last week, and I covered farmed versus wild salmon a couple years ago, but what about the others? Which are worth eating? Which should be avoided?

Let’s take a look.

Tuna

The tuna is a big predatory fish, rather high up on the food chain. As such, it tends to accumulate heavy metals present in the food chain, with mercury being the most egregious of the bunch. Mercury in tuna gets a ton of bad press, not because it’s the worst offender – that honor is shared by shark, marlin, king mackerel, and a few other niche fish – but because it’s the second-most consumed fish in the nation, and small children and unborn fetuses are particularly vulnerable to it. You don’t see toddlers clamoring for king mackerel casserole, do you? It’s also affordable, comes in convenient cans, mixes well with mayo, tastes relatively mild (as opposed to canned sardines or mackerel), and is a staple for bodybuilders everywhere. It’s essentially really easy to eat a lot of canned tuna on a regular basis, so the relatively elevated levels of mercury in tuna are problematic.

There are many species of tuna with varying mercury contents. Canned white, or albacore, tuna has more mercury on average than canned light tuna, which is skipjack, tongol, or smaller yellowfin; pregnant women and small children are advised to eat no more than six ounces of the former or twelve ounces of the latter each week. To be on the safe side, I’d suggest those groups avoid the stuff altogether and maybe eat sardines, mackerel, or wild salmon for the omega-3s instead. Both canned varieties tend to have less mercury than tuna steaks or fillets, probably because larger (and thus, more mercury-rich) fish produce better steaks, while smaller fish work better in cans. Other types of fresh or frozen tuna you might run into include ahi, also known as yellowfin (longline caught yellowfin are larger and contain higher levels of mercury, while troll/pole-caught yellowfin are smaller and contain lower levels), and albacore, which is more expensive than ahi and milder.

Bottom line: Tuna is tasty, especially the steaks, and it’s a decent source of omega-3s, but the mercury content can’t be ignored. Avoid if you are pregnant, nursing, or a small child, and don’t make tuna of any kind a daily staple. Look for troll and pole-caught tuna over longline-caught tuna, as the former tend to run smaller and accumulate fewer contaminants than the latter. Also, Atlantic tuna seems to run with higher mercury content than Pacific tuna, regardless of species, with ahi/yellowfin running lower than albacore.

Salmon

Regular grocery store salmon is almost always of the farmed Atlantic variety, which happens to be the variety I already lambasted. Avoid it and stick with wild Alaskan salmon, the fisheries of which are extremely well managed and sustainable. There’s also wild Pacific salmon caught off the coasts of California, Washington, and Oregon, which I sometimes get at local farmers’ markets. I still like Alaskan sockeye salmon best, even the frozen stuff, but they’re all worth eating.

Bottom line: Eat wild salmon, which is a great source of protein, omega-3s, and selenium. Avoid farmed salmon (unless it’s that fancy tank-raised Coho salmon I mentioned last week).

Tilapia

Tilapia is fast-becoming a consumer favorite, for a few reasons. It’s cheap to raise. It isn’t carnivorous, meaning farmers can use corn and soy pellets without springing for comparatively pricey fishmeal. The fish’s vegetarianism also endears tilapia to those who worry about the state of wild fish stocks (a concern that, though I also share it, must be meted out against concerns about corn and soy subsidies). Parents and schools love it because it’s bland enough to feed to picky kids with dysfunctional industrial taste buds (just add ketchup). Plus, it’s technically fish and therefore “healthy,” meaning heart disease patients and hospitals can satisfy the AHA’s recommendations that folks eat at least two servings of fish a week by eating a few inexpensive, inoffensive tilapia fillets.

Don’t tell them that they aren’t getting much omega-3 out of it, though. According to the USDA nutrient database, tilapia contains very few omega-3 fatty acids at just 200 milligrams per 100 gram serving. In fact, that same 100 gram portion contains very few fatty acids in general – 800 mg saturated fat, 700 mg monounsaturated fat, and 200 mg omega-6 polyunsaturated fat. According to a recent study, however, tilapia has far more omega-6 than the database would suggest, with most of it coming as arachidonic acid (which admittedly isn’t as problematic as excessive dietary linoleic acid). Overall, it’s a lean fish, akin to chicken breast. I find it pretty inoffensive if uninteresting. It’s low in contaminants, inexpensive, and melds into any dish without asserting itself. Good as a cheap source of protein, but not as a source of unique marine nutrition.

Tilapia comes frozen, whole, live, or in fresh fillets. Most frozen tilapia comes from China or Taiwan, while fresh comes either from US or South/Central American farms. Live tilapia are US farmed, and pretty rare (go to Asian supermarkets for these). Asian tilapia is inexpensive, but the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch recommends against eating it very often due to poor farming conditions. Stick to US farmed tilapia if possible. South/Central American also gets good marks. Tilapia farming is fairly intensive, and caged tilapia raised in freshwater ponds can pollute surrounding waters, but standards seem to be changing for the better.

Bottom line: American and S/C. American tilapia is a safe source of protein, but it’s not a good source of omega-3s. If environmental impact matters, buy American. Avoid Asian imports (at least until the aforementioned farming standards are adopted worldwide).

Crab

Who doesn’t enjoy crab? Some might balk at the prospect of dismantling an exoskeleton for a modicum of interior meat, but it’s difficult to deny that the meat itself tastes great. But is regular, everyday grocery store crab safe to eat, let alone healthy? Yes. Dungeness, Alaskan king, snow, kona (also known as spanner or frog crab), and stone crab are all excellent choices. All are wild-caught – as a commenter pointed out last week, there are no commercial farmed crabs – and all are low in contaminants. They’re even harvesting crabs from the Thames in London and finding that they’re relatively low in toxins and metals.

Crab meat is lean, except when dipped in clarified butter, and it’s a good source of selenium, B-vitamins, and zinc. The shell isn’t edible, but it does make a fine stock, so be sure to save your shells.

The crab’s main internal organ, the hepatopancreas, is a delicacy also known as “crab mustard” or “crab butter.” It’s tasty, smooth, and high in fat, but it’s also where industrial contaminants tend to accumulate. In fact, one study (PDF) of blue crabs caught in the Newark Bay region of New Jersey found that the hepatopancreases contained astronomical levels of dioxins – over ten times as much as the muscle meat, enough that, in the authors’ opinion, regular consumption would drastically increase cancer incidence. This is an extreme example, not indicative of most crabs sold for food. Newark Bay blue crabs aren’t available in stores near you (or anywhere; they’re actually banned), and as a whole, blue crabs are relatively free of contaminants. Just be aware that the potential exists for toxin accumulation, especially in the hepatopancreas. I know you guys love slurping up the weird bits of the animals you eat, and the hepatopancreas is undoubtedly chock full of fat and micronutrients, so check your sources before guzzling crustacean digestive glands and viscera. If the waters are clean, you’re in the clear.

Bottom line: Go for it. Grocery store crabs are wild-caught, low in contaminants, and perfectly good to eat.

Cod, Pollock, and Haddock

Purists may disown me, but I’m grouping cod, pollock, and haddock together because they are extremely similar to the lay fish-eater: lean, white, firm, wild-caught fish that people confuse. Cod, pollock, and haddock are even leaner than tilapia and almost as mild, with firm flesh. They’re also wild caught as a rule, which makes for a very clean and contaminant-free fish. I’ve noticed that it’s getting more and more expensive, probably due to lowered worldwide fish stocks. Multiple seafood advisory groups have actually listed cod as endangered and a “poor choice” for regular eating, but not because it’s dangerous or unhealthy.

These fish are perfectly healthy, but they’re also fairly devoid of impressive nutrition, except for decent amounts of selenium and B-vitamins. Like tilapia, consider them sources of lean protein. If environmental concerns speak to you, go easy on it or stick to “bottom longline, jig, or trap” caught Pacific cod, as the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch recommends. You won’t be missing anything vital. All haddock seems acceptable, but Icelandic pollock trapped using Danish seines or trawls is apparently unsustainable.

If you can find them, canned cod livers are delicious, an excellent source (PDF) of vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats, and far more interesting than regular cod fillets. Just be sure to buy livers canned in their own cod liver oil.

Bottom line: Healthy and low in contaminants, but sustainability may be an issue. Stick to Pacific cod, specifically bottom longline, jig, or trap caught Pacific cod, to minimize impact on wild fish stocks. Avoid Icelandic pollock caught using Danish seines or trawls. All haddock is good to go. None are strong sources of omega-3s.

Pangasius

Pangasius, which sells for cut-rate prices and hails from Vietnam, is an intensively farmed river catfish. Retailers often call it basa, or simply “catfish.” It runs lean and mild, contains very few omega-3s, absorbs all flavors, and works well as a canvas for batter and dipping sauce, making pangasius another one of those “fish for people who hate fish.” Whether it’s unsafe or not depends on who you ask – and it’s difficult to figure out who’s telling the truth. Domestic catfish farmers will say imported basa is raised in filthy Mekong river waters and pumped full of cheap feed and antibiotics, and that it isn’t even a true catfish; they also put out a television ad saying as much. The other side says the opposite. For what it’s worth, the Seafood Watch approves (though it prefers American catfish).

Bottom line: Pangasius is another bland, boring fish that may or may not be raised in horrid, unhealthy, polluted conditions. It’s probably safe, but is cheap protein worth the trouble? It might be.

Other Tips

  • Let your nose be the guide when shopping for fresh (or previously frozen, which often masquerades as “fresh fish”) fish at the supermarket. Don’t be shy; position your snout inches from the product and breathe deeply. You’ll know it when it’s bad, because the smell of bad fish is unmistakably and unavoidably putrid. Saltwater fish and shellfish may smell faintly of the sea, which is okay, but freshwater fish should be close to odorless.
  • Visit dedicated fish markets for fresh fish. There, the turnover rate is high and fish is usually fresh and of high quality. At most grocery stores, fish languishes on ice and doesn’t sell as quickly. Hardier meats like beef, pork, or whole chickens can handle a few days without the quality changing, but seafood quality goes downhill fast. If you have an Asian supermarket nearby, they’re also a good source of fresh seafood, since they serve a customer base that eats far more seafood than most Americans.
  • If you’re going to buy the “local catch of the day,” check the local fish consumption advisories for heavy metals and other contaminants using this tool.
  • Ask the fishmonger how the seafood was raised or, if wild, where it was caught and what method was used to catch it. Be wary of imported seafood from Asia.

I know I’ve missed a few examples of store-bought seafood in my attempt to be as universal as possible. Heck, I’ll probably hear it from non-US readers who feel left out, but I can take it. Lay it on me. Let me know what local offering I’ve missed (remember, I’ll bee covering shrimp next week) and I’ll try to get to them. Thanks for reading!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Always, always, always be aware of mercury contamination. While the benefits of some fish may outweigh the potential harm in mercury consumption, there are steps that can be taken to remove unwanted mercury.

    For example, chlorella, another organism from the sea (isn’t it neat how nature gives us the antidote to the poison in the same context?) can be taken to expel mercury. One study demonstrates this effect: http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jts/35/1/101/_pdf/-char/ja/

    Always know the source.

    Nutritionizt wrote on May 18th, 2011
  2. What about the radiation from Fukushima? The FDA is not testing anything.

    Nigel wrote on May 18th, 2011
    • The radiation released is miniscule compared to the amount of natural radiation in the Pacific. This is not something we have to worry about.

      Fish caught in Japanese waters and imported to the US are being tested, but nothing above ordinary has been detected so far.

      Tim wrote on May 18th, 2011
      • I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss the radiation threat. According to this article, “A water sample taken just outside the water intake for the No. 2 unit showed the level of radioactive iodine-131 at 7.5 million times the allowable limit, the most dangerous level of radiation so far detected.” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703712504576244251331137870.html)

        Also, it’s interesting to note that the FDA only inspects about 2% of all seafood. Any information released from them should be evaluated more scrupulously.

        Nutritionizt wrote on May 18th, 2011
        • Take a swimming pool of water at, at say 20 million times the allowable limit with 100 million rem (limit is 5 rem per year).

          Dilute this 2,500 cubic meters of dangerous water into the pacific, which has a volume of 622 million cubic kilometers.

          Dilution = 0.0000025/622

          Final radioactivity you would be exposed to if you drank the entire volume of the pacific = 0.4 rem per year

          Radiation you would be exposed to if you drank 1 liter of the pacific = 0.4/1,000,000,000,000

          Dose = 0.00000000000004 rem

          The dose you get from your own body’s natural radiation is 0.04 rem per year.

          Tim wrote on May 19th, 2011
        • Take a swimming pool of water at, at say 20 million times the allowable limit with 100 million rem (limit is 5 rem per year).

          Dilute this 2,500 cubic meters of dangerous water into the pacific, which has a volume of 622 million cubic kilometers.

          Dilution = 0.0000025/622

          Final radioactivity you would be exposed to if you somehow managed to drink a cubic kilometer of the pacific = 0.4 rem per year

          Radiation you would be exposed to if you drank 1 liter of the pacific = 0.4/1,000,000,000,000

          Dose = 0.00000000000004 rem

          The dose you get from your own body’s natural radiation is 0.04 rem per year.

          Tim wrote on May 19th, 2011
        • Add to this the fact that most of the radioactivity released has been iodine 131, which has a half-life of only 8 days. So for example, one month after a release of 1,000 curies of radioactive iodine, only about 63 curies will remain.

          About 1% of the radiation is cesium 137, which has a much longer half life (30 years) and so will persist in the environment.

          This means that if you are concerned about long-term effects, you have to divide all the numbers above by a further factor of 100. However, since the numbers are already so small, this will only change the risk from miniscule, down to infinitesimal.

          Tim wrote on May 19th, 2011
  3. What about shrimp? We have bought locally caught fresh shrimp at a popular fish market here in FL. Nothing frozen or at the grocery store.

    Stephanie wrote on May 18th, 2011
  4. I think fish is a very controversial issue, at least with me, i have a very peculiar perspective about eating fish, mainly tuna, salmon, tilapia and the sort. I say this based on the omega-3 oils, which are non saturated fats and find them to be more damaging in the long term than any other food item. Tuna specifically has a high content of heavy metals, that can potentially be catastrophic to people sensitive to heavy metal toxicity, salmon (unless is wild caught) is down right nasty, i wouldn’t consume any farm animal under any circumstance. Tilapia is mostly farmed and used to clean up the pens where other fish is being harvested at the same time, tilapia is a bottom feeder and eats all the waste that is fed including other fish’s waste. It is a well documented fact that fish is all PUFA, and link to many metabolic dysfunctions-mainly down regulation of the thyroid.
    Fish from Newark, NJ ???? oh heck no, i lived in Newark NJ for many years, anything that can swim in that water should be packed in a steel drum and buried very deep, the pollution levels in that water has to be atrocious.
    http://clicky.me/55UP

    ruben wrote on May 18th, 2011
  5. Even Alaskans eat canned salmon. It is jarred/canned just as one would preserve anything else from the summer harvest. It is caught and immediately processed. I think it is healthier in some ways because it is the only way outside to get the bones. Here, they would be used in stock, etc. and the eggs eaten. Try and get the beautiful red sockeye. It is worth the $5 tag versus the $2. All the red oil contained. The cans are safe…white inside.

    cj wrote on May 18th, 2011
  6. I’ve also noticed the ‘scam’ going in many grocers in the lower 48. Frozen fish labeled ‘wild caught’ and ‘alaskan wild salmon’.

    If you look for the tiny smudged stamp in black….you will see ‘product of China.’ It is barely visible.

    cj wrote on May 18th, 2011
  7. Mark, You’d think after five years you would run out of stuff to talk about… But the articles like this are ridiculously informative. Thanks.

    Wyatt wrote on May 18th, 2011
  8. Nice photo in the serenity pool at Four Seasons Wailea! One of our favorite places to weekend!

    Molly Bachert wrote on May 18th, 2011
  9. Very good post indeed! I am a fishmonger by trade, so this topic is right up my alley! I am confused about your tuna section though. Albacore(tombo) is a much much smaller fish then yellowfin(ahi) and is usually harvested younger, hence being lower in mercury then its larger cousin yellowfin. Also, everywhere I’ve ever looked albacore is usually considerably less in cost then yellowfin. At my market currently, albacore $13lb….yellowfin $20lb. Also an interesting note, tuna is the only large pelagic fish that does NOT get infected with parasites. Nice to know. Previous commenters comment about all fish being sold having to be previously frozen…not true. For a fish to be call sashimi grade/ready it has to be frozen, but fresh fish is fresh. Love this topic, I can go on forever! Ask your fishmonger about the method of harvest and location of harvest and do your research about sustainability. Thanks for the post Mark!

    Dennis wrote on May 18th, 2011
  10. Mark I believe the people of the WAPF foundation made a mention in one of there articles. That mercury has always been around via Volcano explosions. They also said a body with good levels of Vit A and Cholesterol can handle mild levels of mercury ill find it.

    Adrian wrote on May 18th, 2011
  11. I’m amazed at the number of fish mongers who will not let me smell the offering. I’ve a great nose and won’t buy anything fresh that doesn’t pass my nose test. That said, I absolutely agree that frozen can be the better choice. (salmon, halibut, ling cod…)

    On another note, tuna in my area (Portland, OR) is available canned (jarred, actually) where the fish is packed raw and then processed. Most tuna is cooked, then packed, then processed. If you have the $$$ and the source, I highly recommend trying the ‘once-cooked’ tuna. It has the added advantage of being line/troll caught and is usually albacore that has been tested and passed as lower in contaminants.

    Mary Anne wrote on May 18th, 2011
    • If they won’t let you smell the fish it’s because they know it’s rotten. They will pass it off on some unsuspecting fool that doesn’t know any better. Always, always ask to smell the piece of food you are buying and ultimately going to injest! Some fishmongers would sell sh*t to a saint. I’m not one of those. I’ll let you smell my fish, I’ll tell you where it was caught, or raised, how it was caught , or raised, the ranking it has on the MBA list, and ways to cook your purchase. A trusted fishmonger is like a trusted butcher, or mechanic.
      BTW…would love to try some of the albi you were speaking of!

      Dennis wrote on May 18th, 2011
  12. I want to point out an article with links to research showing that mercury in a lot of fish shouldn’t be a concern due to the amount of selenium in the fish.

    http://fishscam.com/fselenium.cfm

    Eric Sandvik wrote on May 18th, 2011
  13. How about escolar, chilean sea bass, black cod/sable fish, hamachi and eel?

    GiGi wrote on May 18th, 2011
    • as far as sustainability, go with the Monterey Bay Aquarium list mentioned in Mark’s article. We don’t do sea bass, even though some is thought to be ok, as chilean sea bass is a hmmmm needlefish, renamed. Also, do not under any circumstances buy orange roughy. The fishing for that species destroys coral reefs where they live. plus they take about 100 years to mature to reproduction…. Orange roughy were ‘discovered’ when other fisheries were depleted and fishers used drag nets/lines to get them, which leveled the coral ‘forests’ where the fish live.

      Mary Anne wrote on May 18th, 2011
      • iPhone users can download the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch app, which is an excellent reference to use while shopping.

        I’ve been enjoying some fantastic Georges Bank Cod from my local NYC farmers’ market, but after downloading the app, I am reminded that I need to confirm it is line caught and not trawled.

        Greg wrote on May 19th, 2011
  14. As a Aboriginal I know not all salmon are equal. Sockeye are highly prized by Indians because of it’s high oil content. The oil in the fish allows sockeye to wind dry properly…it’s our version of jerky.
    The other types of salmon Coho, Steelhead, Spring, King and Dog have very low fat content and were sold to non natives.

    DirectM wrote on May 18th, 2011
  15. If you’re after cheap fish, with high Omega 3, check out Brunswick Sardines. I’m literally eating them now. They are wild caught baby herring from America and Canada, then have their heads and tails removed, thrown in a tin and cooked. I made a nice Manhattan fish chowder just using these.

    Josh wrote on May 18th, 2011
  16. Could anyone tell me what the cod liver tastes like? What texture does it have? What do you do with it?
    Sounds healthy, but sounds uber-gross. I don’t have the nerve to buy it.
    Thanks!

    Melissa wrote on May 18th, 2011
  17. Fresh and frozen seafood are preferable due to issues already mentioned (such as BPA). The naturally occurring cholesterol in fish, when subjected to high temperatures during manufacture and/or processing (like canning seafood) forms variable amounts of oxysterols (like, 25-hydroxycholesterol). From http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1985.tb10494.x

    The addition of vegetable oil enhances the development of cholesterol oxidation, especially in fish-based products (as opposed to meat).

    On a related topic, oxidized cholesterol is also present in ghee (clarified butter) due the heating process and animal studies suggest ghee may interfere with immune cell (lymphocyte) proliferation and function.

    Robb Russell, D.C. wrote on May 18th, 2011
  18. How bad is farmed salmon? I love salmon but living in London, my main super martkets are Tesco and Sainsbury’s where I just can’t find wild caught. I am miving home to Aus soon too, and I am thinking it will be hard to find wild caught Atlantic salmon there!

    Is it that bad? Should I not eat it?

    Thanks!

    Dave wrote on May 19th, 2011
  19. Great post! I’d never heard of tilapia and will look for it. That said, reading the descriptions of the different options I was really nostalgic for Japan. That was seafood heaven…

    Victoria FERAUGE wrote on May 19th, 2011
  20. In England we get alot of farmed salmon, also fresh cod and haddock and mackeral. I buy naturally smoked haddock which is gorgoeus steamed in butter and milk. I eat alot of smoked salmon. In our household we also love herrings. Here Talapia is a luxury rare fish.I’ve never had it .
    I also buy pepper smoked mackeral and make a lovely pate with yogurt and lemon juice.

    cinders wrote on May 19th, 2011
  21. What about the radioactive fallout from the Fukashima Plant in Japan? I see the ocean current runs up to Alaska.

    Rob M wrote on May 19th, 2011
  22. Mark, have you read Chris Kresser’s excellent blog on eating fish: http://thehealthyskeptic.org/is-eating-fish-safe-a-lot-safer-than-not-eating-fish

    Basically, a lot of the concern over mercury in most deep water ocean fish like yellowfin tuna, which is high in selenium, is not a problem.

    I eat close to a kilo a week of fresh sashimi tuna.

    John wrote on May 19th, 2011
  23. Here is the summary from Chris’s excellent blog article on mercury and selenium:

    Summary
    This is simply a re-cap of the overview presented at the beginning of the article. But it’s worth repeating.

    Selenium protects against mercury toxicity, and 16 of the 25 highest dietary sources of selenium are ocean fish.
    If a fish contains higher levels of selenium than mercury, it is safe to eat.
    Most species of commonly eaten fish in the U.S. have more selenium than mercury.
    Fish are not significant sources of PCBs and dioxins when compared to meat, dairy or vegetables.
    The benefits of eating fish regularly far outweigh the potential risks, which are neglible.
    Pregnant mothers and young children should eat 2-3 servings of oily ocean fish each week.

    John wrote on May 19th, 2011
  24. Not that I find this source reputable, but the timing was amazing with this conflicting information.

    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/farmed-or-wild-what-s-the-best-salmon-to-buy-2484843/

    Brian Edwards wrote on May 19th, 2011
  25. Mary, you beat me to it.

    Massive amounts of radioactive water are being dumped into the sea from Fukushima. Surely this will contaminate Pacific salmon and other seafood.

    Nate wrote on May 19th, 2011
    • It won’t. See the discussion on the previous page.

      Tim wrote on May 19th, 2011
  26. I can’t tell if the cans are BPA free, but these guys are from my hometown, and their canned fish are OUTSTANDING! http://www.davesalbacore.com/index.php

    Sara wrote on May 19th, 2011
  27. Good post Mark. But you don’t have to worry about sustainability of the Icelandic fishing policy its known to be and is one of the best controlled fisheries in the world, believe me.

    Eysteinn wrote on May 19th, 2011
  28. I think we are discounting Fukishima, the idea that a meltdown such as that does not have health concerns is absurd.

    I know it’s a crap shoot that you might eat a fish which ate a fish or consumed a radioactive particle, but why take the chance. I’ll let the pacific rim eat its potentially radioactive fish for ten years and see if their cancer rate goes up before I’ll dine on that radioactive sushi

    Mr Ed wrote on May 19th, 2011
  29. Since the Japanese triple disaster, are Pacific fish safe to eat? Do geographic regions differ(alaska vs california or washington)? I know we all want it to be safe, but is it?

    tom quinn wrote on May 19th, 2011
    • Yes, it is perfectly safe. See the discussion on the previous page.

      Tim wrote on May 20th, 2011
  30. What about the seafood coming from Japan with all the radiation, etc. I know a lot of seafood comes through Japan. I hope this wasn’t already asked but i tried to skim the previous comments.

    Anela wrote on May 20th, 2011
  31. Mercury, BPA, selenium, plastic…FEAR!!! Isn’t that what a healthy lymphatic systems is for. I feel there is more damage in the STRESS everyone is living with FEAR. There’s more damage sitting in traffic talking on a cell phone. People of zee world, RELAX!

    Dasbutch wrote on May 21st, 2011
  32. Thank you for the tips and a great post!

    Tatianna wrote on May 21st, 2011
  33. So I see Tim saying of post Fukashima Pacific fish “it’s safe, it’s safe, it’s safe” and nothing against him but one voice saying the same thing over and over a hundred times isn’t exactly satisfying. If you Google “pacific fish safe” you’ll get a different story. I’m not as concerned about ocean current radiation as I am with the airborne variety such as has been found in Seattle. IF it’s in the air conditioning ducts it’s in the water. So, any other voices out there? I’d love for Mark to weigh in on this because I know he’d do the research and give us the straightb dope even if it’s inconclusive.

    tom quinn wrote on May 21st, 2011
    • If you have a look at the calculations on the previous page, you’ll see why a radiation leak across the Pacific isn’t something to worry about.

      If it were big enough to cause a problem in America, everybody in Japan would already be dead.

      Tim wrote on May 23rd, 2011
  34. Very informative! Good to know you can buy high quality crab from the grocery store.

    Hisham Soliman wrote on May 25th, 2011
  35. I have been told by many people to avoid any and all ocean fish b/c of all the pollutants in the water. (oil spills, radiation, dumping, heavy metal etc)

    Even wild caught would be bad.

    What do you all make of that?

    Kami wrote on December 14th, 2011
  36. Hoki is the suggested alternative to Cod for about 10 years now in Britain and Ireland due to overfishing.

    Cod is too expensive as well.

    Hoki tastes exactly the same as Cod anyway.

    Fran wrote on July 17th, 2012
  37. Is Norwegian salmon as bad as the Atlantic farmed salmon?

    joyce wrote on September 15th, 2012
  38. Here is the low down on selenium/mercury interaction as discussed on Chris Kresser’s podcast last week

    http://www.undeerc.org/fish/pdfs/Selenium-Mercury.pdf

    Jared Shindler wrote on October 26th, 2012
  39. Hey Mark,
    When it comes to tuna I am a bit concerned with the mercury content as I do enjoy ONE small tin of tuna on most days.
    However, after reading that if the tuna contains more selenium than mercury then there is no need to limit it as the selenium helps to bind with the mercury and carry it out of the body.
    http://chriskresser.com/the-truth-about-toxic-mercury-in-fish
    I also ready that garlic, onions and a few other foods that people consume on a regular basis help to remove heavy metals also.
    I am interested to hear your thoughts on this since im a regular tuna eater as it’s my only convenient source of tinned protein due to spending years of eating tons of tinned salmon and sardines now im sooo put off, it’s like my body is rejecting the idea of more salmon or sardines!
    Maybe I have a build up of something contained in those things which is why im rarely hungry for those foods anymore?
    Anyway I hope to hear from you.
    By the way thankyou again for sharing all your knowledge and information.
    By the way I just promoted you on facebook (on my friends page who is in the fitness industry and has plenty of followers) because I know there are still sooo many people out there that could benefit from reading your books and regular visits to this website.
    All the best, Ben.

    Ben wrote on February 1st, 2013
  40. I would like to know if you could publish a printable list of the fish that is safest to eat and where it comes from and if it is wild caught or farmed.

    Thank you.

    Risé wrote on February 24th, 2013

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