Tilapia, Worse For You Than Ever Before?

We really need to be cognizant of what we purchase as food these days.  We’ve all heard that eating fish is touted as being one of the best foods for our health, because fish provide the needed Omega 3 fatty acids required by humans for optimum health.  But, what cost do we pay attempting to absorb healthy Omega 3 fatty acids by eating fish?  Taking supplements of vitamins and minerals by mouth have proven to be effective to a certain level however, the body assimilates vitamins and minerals best by eating.  Because, people tend to shop for food by price more than the benefit the food may offer, and tilapia fish don’t smell fishy or have a fishy taste it has been a big seller even to the tune of almost 500 million pounds consumed each year in the United States by people attempting to get the desired Omega 3 fatty acids the fish may offer.

Tilapia has also proven to be one of the cheapest fish to purchase in the super market, but there is a reason the fish is so cheap.  One reason its cheap is that it lacks the proper amounts of Omega 3s believed by the population to be present because it is fish.  And,  according to Michael Doyle Director of the Center for Food Safety  “While there are some really good aquaculture ponds in Asia, in many of these ponds — or really in most of these ponds — it’s typical to use untreated chicken manure as the primary nutrition,” he told MSN News. “In some places, like Thailand for example, they will just put the chickens over the pond and they just poop right in the pond.”  

Due to these living conditions the fish are treated with large amounts of antibiotics as a prophylactic against salmonella and E Coli.  In turn, when people eat the fish  and these same antibiotics are absorbed into their bodies, and linked to the ever growing antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria among us.  Yet, there is a much more sinister aspect to the eating of this fish and others.   AquaBounty has petitioned the Food And Drug Administration to introduce “designer” genetically engineered AquAdvantage® salmon into the food chain.  These GE salmon will be the first (known) genetically engineered  fish to be sold onto the U.S. market.  Their genetically engineered salmon grow faster and bigger than the natural fish  in a shorter amount of time. 

AquaBounty, which designs the genetically engineered salmon eggs on Prince Edward Island, Canada and sends the eggs to Panama where they raise and farm these animals.   AquAdvantage® “lost” several of its GE salmon during a storm in Panama in 2008.   According to Outsideonline.com “an unusually severe storm” in Panama, as AquaBounty revealed in an August 15, 2008, memo to their investors…”  These “lost” AquAdvantage® salmon are now free to mate have been mating with natural salmon (and create a new species?)  So, what has all this salmon talk have to do with tilapia?

AquaBounty is now designing genetically engineered tilapia fish.  Tilapia fish are a vegetarian fish that will grow (even in a garbage can) and consume almost anything (including chicken manure) other than flesh, which makes them one of the easiist  fish to farm on the commercial side.  AquaBounty has designed the tilapia to grow faster than “traditional” tilapia (notice the word natural cannot be used here.)  And yet, they will not go into detail concerning how they cause this super growth.  At any rate, tilapia will be managed genetically and sold over into the U.S. population and an unwitting public may become more manipulated since people give no thought about what or how animals are prepared for their consumption.  AquaBounty has plans to design trout along with their AquAdvantage® salmon and tilapia.  Like the TV commercial that says whats in your wallet?  Ask yourself whats in you stomach?

Why do you eat that?

A few years ago while visiting my mother in San Diego, she said to me she wouldn’t know I was her son by the way I ate.   I, of course, thought about how differently I do eat in comparison to my mother and siblings and I began to think about why and how this occurred.  My family ate and eats the traditional so-called “Soul Food” diet, ham, chicken, beans and greens with ham hocks on Sundays.  During the week would be spaghetti, fried pork chops, or a fast food spot. 

Your surrounding environment influences your “daily bread”, so to speak as well.  My mom is from the south thus the traditional “Soul Food” regimen.  But, since she’d lived a large part of her life in Southern California, and all her children were born or grew up there, in comes the enchiladas, burritos (from mixed to machaca, to California), sopes or tostadas we ate them.  Not to mention my mother learning to make some of the best Menudo that we would eat some Saturdays.  Yep, that was the regimen growing up Black in Southern Cal.

However, my mother’s statement had a more profound effect on me more than she would know.  I also thought about so many other ways I think about life and how I conduct myself accordingly.  Maybe one of the reasons I eat the way I do now has a lot to do with learning about our bodies, where and how food is grown and handled and how and what we consume affects us.  I suppose, in a way, I have revolted against my parents way of life.  Their standards in a way.  And maybe it’s more of an evolution rather than a revolt.  More of a spiraling than coming full circle. 

We invest a quite a bit into education and learning.  We spend many hours in college and university studying to learn.  We learn about our jobs, and understanding what we need to know to progress on the job.  Or, we study marketing and how to drive people to our websites for increased sales.  But, why does learning for many of us stop there?  Why don’t we know what makes our own bodies function?  And how to better nourish our bodies.  Why haven’t my siblings and other relatives taken the time to learn this?  

What I think my mother doesn’t get, and many of my relatives and a few people I know don’t get, is that we are not put on the Earth to continue in traditions adhering only to what our people before us did .exactly to a T.  We are here to continue the learning process those before us began.  Our ancestors did not create traditions and culture from a static position, but from continued observation and application.  This is why many people maintain unhealthy eating habits, they see life’s progression from a static mindset.  People tend to eat exactly like their parents ate when they become adults and manage their own households.  Don’t you find this curious?