September 20th, 2010

{kitchen aids} Guide to Sustainable AND Safe Seafood

Every year, the non-profit Environmental Working Group releases a list dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” of the most pesticide riddled fruits and vegetables. An indispensable planning and budgeting tool, the list helps families determine which fruits and veggies are worth the cost for organic. Now, thanks to another non-profit, Food and Water Watch, there’s a similar tool for fish. Their National Smart Seafood Guide includes a handy list of the 12 least safe and sustainable fish.

Though this is not the first seafood guide of its kind, it is one of the few (the only?) that considers both sustainability and safety. Such a relief! (On more than one occasion, I’ve spent time cross referencing options before hitting the fish market.) They also offer a printable seafood guide that’s perfect for your wallet, provide safe seafood suggestions based on your taste (mild fish, steak-like, etc.), and provide regional guides. Now all they need is an iPhone app! (You hear that Food and Water Watch?!)

The following 12 fish failed at least two the groups criteria, making them the dirty dozen of the sea. If you can, avoid these fish, especially if feeding young children:

  • Catfish, imported
  • Caviar, especially from beluga and other wild-caught sturgeon
  • Cod, Atlantic
  • Eel, American (AKA “yellow” or “silver” eel)
  • Flatfish, Atlantic (e.g. flounder, sole and halibut)
  • Imported King Crab
  • Imported Shrimp
  • Orange Roughy
  • Salmon, Atlantic & farmed
  • Chilean Seabass
  • Shark
  • Tuna, Bluefin & Atlantic

WIth sustainable, safe seafood in hand, you can head home and cook one of these fish recipes with confidence!

4 Responses

  1. Rosie says:

    I love these lists. Another good cross-reference is the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood search on their website http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx. It is truly an exhaustive list that gives you alternative names of the fish in question and gives recommendations depending on the geographic location (Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific, etc.)and how it is caught (long-line, troll, etc.). I’ve bookmarked the site and use it weekly.

  2. simi dentist says:

    Thank you for this list. I liked it so much I forwarded to several friends. Here is another list you my find of interest. There has been a lot of concern about fraudulent extra virgin olive oil. A study by researchers from the University of California, Davis, found many of the olive oils lining supermarket shelves in the United States are not the top-grade extra-virgin oils their labels proclaim. It analyzed samples from 19 randomly selected, widely distributed brands purchased from retailers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

    The study found that 69 percent of imported oils and 10 percent of domestic oils sampled did not meet the international standards that define the pure, cold-pressed, olive oils that deserve the extra virgin title. Three samples of each imported oil and two samples of each domestic oil were tested.

    Here’s a look at how the olive oil brands fared in the study:

    ——

    IMPORTED OLIVE OILS:

    Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two out of three samples failed.
    Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Three of three samples failed.
    Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Three of three samples failed.
    Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two of three samples failed.
    Star Extra Virgin Olive Oil: One of three samples failed.
    Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Three of three samples failed.
    Newman’s Own Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two of three samples failed.
    Mezzetta Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Three of three samples failed.
    Mazola Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Three of three samples failed.
    Rachael Ray Extra Tasty Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two of three samples failed.
    Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: All samples passed.
    Great Value 100 percent Extra Virgin Olive Oil: One of three samples failed.
    Safeway Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two of three samples failed.
    365 Everyday Value 100 percent Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Two of three samples failed.

    ——

    DOMESTIC OLIVE OILS:

    Corto Olive Extra Virgin Olive Oil: All samples passed.
    California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil: All samples passed.
    McEvoy Ranch Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: All samples passed.
    Bariani Olive Oil Extra Virgin Olive Oil: One of two samples failed.

  3. Honestly, I’m worried about the impact of ocean acidification on salmon and many of there other fish like Chilean Sea bass and Atlantic cod that you list above. Have you seen the studies cited at http://www.order-salmon.com/salmon-global-warming-salmon-climate-change.php ?

    What do you think?

    What can we do? What do you recommend we do?

    Grace Springer

  4. Hm. Send Christmas Dinner—are you a real poster or not? If you are spam, not bad! I can’t tell and, actually, that’s not a bad question. LOL. The list above was a list of fish that failed on at least 2 criteria so, you’re right, that they are fish that should spark concern. The link you sent actually has a quote from someone from the organization behind this seafood resource, so it seems they are on top of it. Also, since I have the change, I should mention that whenever a blog post shares details from a timely list, it’s important to go back to the source once the post is outdated. The specifics I share in the body of the post are from the 2010 guide and it’s nearly 2012. Follow the links for the most updated info.

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