Feb 7, 2011

Buying Fish in a Land Locked State

If there's anything I hope people learn from reading this blog is the fact that reading labels and packaging is important.  Very important.

When it comes to buying fish, reading labels is oh-so-very important.

First - what NOT to buy:
Really?  Color added is a perk for some people?  Please do not buy color added anything, especially fish.

The second thing I want to point out about the salmon, above, is the fact that it is farm-raised.  For the uninformed I supposed farm-raised sounds like a good thing.  Alas, it is not for fish.

Farm-raised is good for oh, say: pigs, cows, sheep, chicken...the kind of things that Old MacDonald raised on his farm.

But fish?  Um, no.

Do not buy farm-raised fish.

Farm-raised fish is typically fed genetically modified corn and or soy.  And a lot of it.  Let me ask you a question.  Does a natural fish diet consist of grain?

The reason farm-raised fish is often color added is because the fish are packed into a tank and stuffed with a monochromatic diet.  The variation of food in a natural environment is what gives salmon the beautiful color.

So, what should you look for when buying fish in a land locked state?

Two words: wild caught.

Wild caught = healthy environment, eating the various foods that were intended to be eaten by fish.
But not all wild caught fish is created equal.  Hint: usually the price will give you a clue, too.  The below "Value - wild caught" fish was much cheaper per ounce than the package above.  The reason was found in the ingredients:  lots of words I couldn't pronounce.  The cheaper fish was filled with chemicals and solutions.  Ick.
Another thing to consider on the label is the country of origin.  I try not to by any food that is from China.  From the things I've read, it is a country with a bad reputation in the realm of food safety and quality.  Please do your own research.
This wild-caught Mahi Mahi is from Equador.
And the ingredients?  Mahi Mahi.  How novel - nothing else but real food.

When grocery shopping for fish in a land locked state read the labels and consider these things:

- wild caught or farm-raised?
- country of origin
- real food ingredients that you can pronounce.

See what others are saying at Monday Mania with Sarah the Healthy Home Economist.

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  1. Thanks for the post! My hubby LOOOOOVES mahi mahi but I didn't realize you could buy it in stores...at least not a local grocery store like Kroger. I will definitely be on the look out for some.

  2. One other note - the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a great seafood guide called "seafood watch" (also available as an app for your smart phone). This will tell you what fish are in danger of being over-fished as well as list alternatives. I don't buy or order fish at a restaurant without consulting this guide first!

  3. Cool tips! I agree .. no food from China! Thanks for sharing at Monday Mania this week! :)

  4. Isn't there a concerned for depleted and over-exploited fish stocks? "Real" food comes from a real ecosystem; any personal sense of healthfulness must balance with the health of the entire system. For some species, farmed fish help meet the expanding demand and allow wild stocks the chance to recover from years of unsustainable management. A overall picture of sustainability should be consulted when making food decisions. I found the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)to have helpful resources for making more informed choices. Thanks.



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