Organic Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood is an area of organic food where the water is muddy (pun intended). You can’t really say that fish that are caught in the wild are more organically raised than those that are raised on fish farms.

Today more and more people are demanding that the food that they eat be raised using organic standards. They don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables that have been raised using chemical fertilizers or toxic pesticides. They want their chicken to be “free range” (not raised in crowded pens or fed anything other than organic food) and they want their beef to come from cows that have not been given antibiotics or growth hormones. People are getting more selective, and that’s a good thing; but the truth is determining which fish and/or seafood is organic and which is not organic is not an exact science.

The oceans of the world are polluted. There is no denying the fact. Raw sewage is dumped directly into the ocean in many parts of the world. Fish caught in these waters would certainly not be considered organic by any standards, even if they are caught in the wild.

On the other hand, runoff water is a major pollutant of our lakes and rivers. So freshwater fish that are caught in the wild are not necessarily unexposed to toxins of all kinds. Fish that are raised on fish farms might be fed an organic diet, but the water in which they live may provide far from what would be considered ecofriendly.

You will see fish and seafood advertised as “organic,” but the label at this point really doesn’t mean much. As of this writing, the eco-label of the Marine Stewardship Council for wild-caught species has the largest reach and meets the UN standards for eco-labeling. There are various certifications for farm-raised fish, but none of these labels tell the whole story.

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