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    Archive for the ‘squid’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Farmed Seafood

    shrimpThanks for all the information about farmed salmon.  I had no idea Atlantic salmon was grown in such nasty conditions.

    The other day at a restaurant, I had the following grilled seafood choices to add to a salad: squid, shrimp, tuna, and lobsters.

    Are any of these farmed, or can I order them knowing they are all wild?  I already know about mercury in tuna; in this instance I am only interested in the farming vs. wild issue.

    — Steve Wilmott
    (Location withheld)

    Seafood opens up Pandora’s box.  Frankly, the more I read about the fishing and farming of many marine animals, the more turned off I am.

    There’s the mercury issue with tuna, the salmon farming hot topic, concerns regarding overfishing and completely unsustainable catching methods that threaten to render certain species extinct and practically destroy ecosystems, and then… there’s the issue of Country of Origin Labeling.

    Let’s start at the beginning.

    In regards to your question: tuna and squid are not farmed.  Roughly half of all shrimp in the world are farmed.  The vast majority of lobsters, meanwhile, are wild-caught.

    The shrimp issue is interesting.  Whereas shrimp farms in the United States are subject to certain regulations (mainly relating to waste treatment and antibiotic use), the overwhelming majority of the world’s farmed shrimp — mainly housed in China, India, and Thailand — are harvested in awful conditions.  Their water is laden with copious amounts of chemicals, antibiotics, and pesticides that are strictly illegal in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency.

    Since more than three quarters of the shrimp sold in the United States is imported from those countries (and is very rarely inspected for those substances upon arriving to these shores), chances are the shrimp you eat has not been raised in the most pristine conditions.

    Making matters more complicated?  Depending on the species, farmed shrimp (the US kind) is a more environmentally-friendly choice than some wild-caught species that are obtained through methods that pose very negative consequences on ecosystems.  This is where personal choice and priorities come into play.  Do you value health over environment?  Environment over health?  Both equally?

    Of course, this would all be much easier to navigate if Country of Origin Labeling were implemented more effectively.

    Currently, United States law mandates that unprocessed seafood served at supermarkets be labeled with the country of origin as well as a “farmed” or “wild-caught” status.  For whatever reason, restaurants and specialty stores are exempt from this requirement.

    One of my absolute favorite resources is the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide, tailored to various different regions.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Octopus & Squid

    octopusTwo of my favorite proteins are octopus and squid.  I rarely ever read or hear anything about their nutritional profiles.

    Can you enlighten me?

    — Paul (last name withheld)
    San Clemente, CA

    The United States consumes a lot less seafood than many other countries, and that is especially the case with these two mollusks.  In Japan, Portugal, and Spain, however, octopus is as common as canned tuna.

    A 3-ounce serving of cooked octopus delivers:

    • 139 calories
    • 2 grams of fat (of which none are saturated)
    • 240 milligrams of sodium
    • 25 grams protein
    • 510% of the Daily Value of vitamin B12
    • 45% of the Daily Value of iron
    • 11% of the Daily Value of vitamin C

    Just so you get an idea, a 3-ounce serving of chicken breast delivers five percent of the Daily Value of B12 and iron!  In fact, on an ounce-by-ounce basis, octopus packs in four times as much iron as — and 20 times the B12 of — beef.

    When simply grilled, squid has similar caloric and fat values to octopus.  However, squid offers less sodium and protein.  Squid is also void of any vitamin C and contains a substantially lower amount of iron and vitamin B12, but is home to 90% of a day’s worth of copper.

    The main issue with squid is that most people consume it in a breaded and deep fried form (calamari), which they then dip into sauces high in fat and sodium.

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