Seafood warning: Why you may be eating toxic antibiotic-tainted fish from China

Seafood warning: Why you may be eating toxic antibiotic-tainted fish from China
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(NaturalHealth365) Scientists and medical professionals have long been concerned about the advent of “superbugs” – bacteria that have mutated in order to become resistant to antibiotics. Troubling new research has emerged showing that antibiotic residue can be found in a significant portion of the seafood imported from China – meaning that evidence of this growing threat can now be found on your dinner plate.

To learn how antibiotics make their way into imported shrimp, tilapia, salmon, and tuna – and to find out how to reduce your risk of exposure – keep reading and share this news to help save lives.

American trade organizations sound the alarm on contaminated seafood

According to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, a trade organization of American shrimp producers, the United States is currently awash in ”fraudulently labeled and unsafe seafood.”  A surprising 80 percent of the seafood eaten in America is imported, with much of it coming from Asian countries.  In fact, in 2014 the U.S. imported $2.9 billion worth of seafood from China alone, making it the third largest exporter to this country.

Unfortunately, many of China’s laws regulating seafood are either lax or difficult to enforce, leading to rampant health violations and low standards – and to the presence of unsafe substances in Chinese seafood destined for American markets.  To make matters worse, food consumers can expect little protection from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – which only inspects between 1 and 2 percent of the incoming seafood.

However, last year the FDA did take some action to stem the tide of tainted seafood. (We can only imagine how bad it must be for the FDA to take any action at all)

FDA issues an import alert on Chinese seafood

In June of 2016, the FDA released an import alert calling for the detention of several types of aquacultured fish – including shrimp and eels – originating from the People’s Republic of China.  The alert was triggered by an FDA study that found that 25 percent of all Chinese seafood had traces of chemicals prohibited for use in seafood in the U.S. – including unapproved drugs and dangerous food additives.

Researchers found nitrofurans – a group of antibiotics – in shrimp in amounts above 1 ppb, or parts per billion. The antibacterial compound malachite green was found in dace, eel and catfish in concentrations ranging from 2.1 ppb to 122 ppb. An antiseptic dye, gentian violet, was detected in eel and catfish at 2.5 ppb to 26.9 ppb, while fluoroquinolones, a class of broad-spectrum antibiotics, were found in catfish in amounts ranging from 1.9 ppb to 6.5 ppb.

Gentian violet, malachite green and nitrofurans are prohibited in seafood in both the United States and China – yet the FDA maintains that residues continue to appear in Chinese seafood.  All three compounds have been found to be carcinogens, while fluoroquinones have researchers worried because they can increase microbial resistance in human pathogens.

In another disturbing study conducted from 2006 to 2011, researchers found that 43 percent of samples of Chinese seafood contained multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria.

How do chemical residues get into the fish?

It is a common practice in China to funnel waste from pigs into ponds where fish are being raised. In pigs that are receiving antibiotics, up to 90 percent of the drug can pass undigested through the urine and feces – and from there into the fish and shrimp. The filthy condition of the water often results in the need to treat fish with large amounts of veterinary drugs – leading to still more antibiotic overload.

One of the drugs making its way into fish is colistin, an antibiotic which has fallen into disfavor because of its kidney toxicity – but one that is still sometimes used as a last resort for multi-drug-resistant bacteria.

However, it may not be effective for long.  Scientists recently discovered a colistin-resistant gene – one that can turn bacteria into “superbugs” – in patients, food and environmental samples in more than 20 countries – testimony to the pervasiveness and consequences of antibiotic residue.

And, wild-caught Chinese seafood is not necessarily any safer than the “farmed” variety. Many of China’s major fishing areas are extremely polluted with heavy metals, industrial waste and chemical fertilizers.

Trans-shipping is an international “shell game”

Making the problem worse is the fact that China participates in “trans-shipping,” the act off shipping fish through other countries on its way to the Western Hemisphere. By using disposable import companies that can be easily dissolved, unethical exporters can cut out tariffs and avoid close inspection.

According to, Chinese producers often use Malaysian companies to sneak shrimp into the United States.  In an attempt to alleviate the problem, the FDA issued an import alert last April allowing its district offices to detain and test all imports of shrimp and prawn from Peninsular Malaysia.

How to protect yourself from toxic seafood

To avoid buying Chinese seafood, make sure to carefully read all labels to determine the country of origin. Be wary of phrases such as “prepared in,” “packed in,” or “imported by” – all of which could indicate the fish was raised in one location and processed in another.

It is also a good policy to choose fresh fish over frozen, and smaller fish over large – which tend to have smaller accumulations of toxins in their bodies.

When it comes to avoiding antibiotic residue in fish, your best bet is Alaskan salmon, which can be obtained here.

Interesting to note, Alaska doesn’t allow salmon farming and the pollution of Alaskan rivers is forbidden by state charter.  In other words, Alaskan salmon is, by definition, wild-caught and much less likely to be contaminated.*

In addition, Alaskan salmon offers exceptional health benefits. Long-chain fatty acids such as EPA and DHA in wild-caught salmon can cut risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, support healthy artery function, lower triglycerides and moderate blood pressure.

Editor’s note: Vital Choice is a trusted source of fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms. {It’s my personal favorite and, yes, your purchase does help to support our operations – at no additional cost to you}

*By the way, Vital Choice has done 6 rounds of testing for radiation contamination from 2012 – 2016 and their fish has produced clean test results.


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