Mercury Rising, Where Should We Get Our Fish?
Lead author Joel Blum, an environmental scientist at University of Michigan, states “Cleaning up our own shorelines is not going to be enough. This is a global atmospheric problem.”
According to Gerald Don Wootan in his book, “Detox Diets For Dummies“, natural removal of mercury by the body is slow. Therefore, it is important to eat foods such as free-range meats and organic vegetables, and ingest herbs including licorice and bladderwrack, which increase mercury detoxification.
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth for humans. Just one one-thousandth of a gram can cause toxic reactions, and yet hundreds of tons of mercury are released into the environment every year.
Your support for helping the cause to cut Mercury emissions is crucial (see Zero Mercury Working Group), but in the meantime…
How can we eat fish with the least risk of consuming Mercury?
Guideline number one is to stay away from predatory fish, fish that are feeding on other fish and the organic matter that is sinking to the ocean’s floors.
Fish that are the highest in Mercury and should be avoided are Mackerel (King), Marlin, Orange Roughy, Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish and Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi). (US FDA)
Fish that can be enjoyed, that are potentially the least contaminated, are:
Anchovies, Butterfish, Catfish, Clam, Crab (Domestic), Crawfish/Crayfish, Croaker (Atlantic) , Flounder, Haddock (Atlantic), Hake, Herring, Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub), Mullet, Oyster, Perch (Ocean), Plaice, Pollock, Salmon (Canned), Salmon (Fresh), Sardine, Scallop, Shad (American), Shrimp, Sole (Pacific), Squid (Calamari), Tilapia, Trout (Freshwater), Whitefish and Whiting. (NRDC)
For fish not listed above visit the National Resource Defense Council’s website Mercury in Fish page or the FDA’s Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish (1990-2010) report.
How to Buy Fish
The USDA requires all fish to carry a label stating if it’s wild-caught or farm-raised and identifying its country of origin.
Look for “Frozen-at-Sea” (FAS) fish that has been flash-frozen at extremely low temperatures in as little as three seconds onboard the ship. When thawed, sea-frozen fish are almost indistinguishable from fresh fish, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
It is highly recommended that you look to wild-caught fish that are on the recommended list of fish to eat. The potential for contaminants and the foods that are fed to farm-raised fish can be detrimental, and potentially expose you to food you may be intolerant to.
Best Ways to Prepare Fish
More delicate than meat, fish can dry out easily. To keep moisture in, cook fish quickly over high heat (grilling, broiling, or sauteing) or gently poach it in liquid.