If you are a fish lover and living in Mississippi or Tennessee, then you should pay extra attention when buying catfish (Siluriformes) due to public health concerns. A Mississippi catfish processor, Lakes Farm Raised Catfish Inc., is recalling nearly 1,700 pounds of frozen catfish products after the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) found that the products may be contaminated with high levels of chemicals banned in fish farming by many European countries.
The affected items were shipped to institutional and retail locations across Mississippi and Tennessee. The problem was discovered during a routine food safety inspection on March 23, 2017. The results of the FSIS sampling revealed unsafe levels of two chemicals, malachite green and leucomalachite green, in several of their frozen fish products.
In aquaculture, many fish farmers use several chemical substances with antimicrobial activity, such as the dye malachite green, to treat parasites and diseases. As a result, residues of malachite green and its main byproduct, leucomalachite green, may end up in the fish on your plate. Given their toxic nature, these chemicals pose a serious risk to human and environmental health.
One study, published in the international journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, assessed the potential human cancer risk from exposure to leucomalachite green through fish consumption. They found that fish consumers have a greater risk of liver cancer.
The tainted products are 15-pound boxes of frozen catfish products that were produced on March 14 through 17, 2017. The contaminated products have the establishment number “EST. 48150” printed inside the USDA mark of inspection.
The products involved in the recall include:
- 15-pound cardboard boxes of frozen raw catfish fillets identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
- 15-pound cardboard boxes of frozen raw catfish nuggets identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
- 15-pound cardboard boxes of frozen raw catfish steaks identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
- 15-pound cardboard boxes of frozen raw whole catfish identified as LAKE’S FARM RAISED CATFISH and having lot codes T-14, T-15, T-16, and T-17.
To date, there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions or incidents from the consumption of these contaminated products. Food Safety News, however, urges people to contact their regular healthcare provider if they are concerned about an injury or illness after consuming any of the products mentioned above. If you bought any of these products, you should throw them away immediately or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Furthermore, when buying fish in the future, try to stay away from farm-raised fish. Most of this fish comes from Chinese fish farms that are located in heavily industrialized regions where the water, air, and soil are contaminated with a variety of health-damaging substances. (Read more coverage of health hazards in the food supply at FoodSupply.news.)
This is not the first time high levels of antibiotics or other questionable ingredients have been found in farm-raised fish. These antibiotics are contributing to the rise of the superbug epidemic. Also, farm-raised fish are usually fed an unnatural diet of cheap, lower-quality GM grains or livestock and poultry waste.
RELATED: Stay informed about toxins in our food and environment at Toxins.news.