SAFETY OF IMPORTED FOODS
SAFETY OF IMPORTED FOODS
Today it was reported that fish imported from
I used to like to eat catfish when I lived in the US and for years almost every time I purchased catfish in the supermarkets, it was contaminated with tiny roundworms which most people would not notice because they were not educated or trained in the field of public health as I am. Sometimes I would pull the worms out when I saw them. Worms in fish are not considered hazardous nor do they cause disease in humans, and their presence is not considered a reason to dump the batch and discard the product. They are allowed by the FDA’s HACCP Regulations for Seafood – the regulations which delineate seafood safety chiefly because the parasitic worms are killed with cooking. To whit, I am HACCP Certified after having gone through a rather vigorous instructional and training program. I mention this only to indicate that I have the credentials to write intelligently about the subject. The only thing I might lack is a bit of humility! But I believe, and you might agree that sometimes it is important to know that a person writing on a topic, especially when it relates to health, medicine, and science that the individual has the credentials to discuss the topic.
Be that as it may, why the worms? It is because the conditions of farm raising consist of raising very large numbers of fish in a confined environment and providing sufficient food to allow the fish to grow rapidly. Money is made in the growing of food products when certain conditions are controlled, namely, time, amount of space devoted to the process, and preventing animals, especially, to exercise. These conditions are quite controlled in the farm raising of fish, and also in the latter stages of cattle raising when they are placed in rather close quarters – not conducive to exercising – and fed almost continuously to “fatten them up.” I have spoken in an earlier Blog (Re: "E. coli contamination of beef, 10 June 2007) about the incident with the Washington Beef Company and their unsanitary practice of herding cattle in large feeder lot where during the rainy season in
The same is true with the raising of poultry. Large numbers of chickens are housed in a relatively small area considering the numbers, little area to exercise, and force feeding to accommodate the time factor. Chickens are brought to market as fryers in a mater of weeks after hatching. The larger broilers require more time.
Egg production has been perfected in the
When animals are grown in crowded conditions, the incidence of disease increases. But money and profits rule and the practice of raising animals in such conditions continues.
To return to the problems of raising farm-raised fish, the incidence of diseases increases under similar conditions. Farmers then provide antibiotics and other chemicals to control diseases as they also do with the raising of chickens and cattle. That is the reason why meats in the
Additionally, it is believed the Chinese are also using external chemicals, such as formaldehyde (the same chemical used in embalming) to minimize the decaying process. We know how fish which is not fresh begins to telegraph their age out of water with their smell.
Since moving to
Some day I will describe how the farming of vegetables and grains are similarly affected by the farming process. It is not good. Who would have thought that a vegetable like spinach would be contaminated with E. coli, a contaminant from cattle feces? I talked in an earlier Blog how we eliminated the dysentery diseases such as Typhoid Fever and Cholera, solely by employing public health measures of separating the water supply from sewage in the early 1900's. We now need to return using these same principals with the raising of both animal and vegetable food products.
This is what I see today from my vantage point, here in
nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic