An interesting label (on fish filets)

meldy_nva(z6b VA)June 13, 2011

I gave up eating fish many years before all the warnings about unsafe quantities of mercury and other chemicals to be found in fish. However, DH is very fond of fish so he continues to have it for dinner once a week or so. No, he isn't concerned about the contaminants, nor does he agree that there is no safe minimum when eating mercury- after all, as long as he doesn't have it too often it's okay according to his doctor and the FDA. Me, I can't reconciliate the fact that ANY mercury is harmful to humans to fact of various publishings advising that once a week or once a month (depending on species) it's okay to eat fish that have mercury in their flesh. The fact that the human body disposes of 50%, 80% or 90% of the ingested mercury (quantity depends on whose study) doesn't change that the remainder is accumulated in the body.

Okay, that's all old stuff. What is new is a label I read on DH's most recent purchase of frozen fish filets: the fish has been tested and found to be mercury-free. That may not be an exact quote but the meaning was clear. The fish in that package were tested and contain no mercury residue. I would like to believe it. But I can't quite visualize testing being done on each fish caught/processed/frozen. Test one fish out of X-number of pounds, maybe and probably that's so. Test every single fish they process? I doubt it. OTOH, it's nice to see that someone has noticed that potential customers are concerned about the amount of mercury in fish.

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We don't eat much fish, b/c DH has lost his taste for it, but when we did, I didn't think much about the mercury levels it might contain. Now, I find that the kind of canned tuna I prefer has the highest amount of mercury in it. Oh well, don't think I'll give it up at this stage of my life.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:17AM
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gandle(4 NE)

I got a chemistry set as a child in the 30's and in it was a vial of mercury. I really enjoyed playing with it and even put it on the family silverplate because it made them look so shiny. There were no warnings about handling this element and I may have even tasted it to see if it had a taste. I was fascinated with mercury, maybe thats what the problem is now.

We still eat fish but I make a concious effort to find some not processed in China.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 11:09AM
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My DH abhors even the smell of fish, so it's something I don't fix often in this household. In fact I cooked it for the first time this spring.....and have it occasionally now in sandwiches and he hasn't complained so far. ;-)

You may want to read some recent studies concerning DNA testing to make sure what breed of fish you are buying is actually what it says it much of the fish is actually procured in country or directly off-shore and what percentage of imported foods are actually inspected, and also read up on salt water fish farming. Draw your own conclusions. LOL

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:33PM
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It may be that the fish used in the filets were breed at fish farms where the water is monitored for mercury and they can say that no mercury was found.
I eat a fair amount of fish, but these days I stay with small size fish because they have the least amount of (bad stuff).
The large fish eats the smaller fish, the smaller fish eat the smaller fish etc. so pretty soon the large fish has all the bad stuff from all the other fish stored in it's system.
calliope, I really like your post, it has a lot of good suggestions.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 7:00PM
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I remember that some one here has a son that is involved with fish monitoring in some way. I like to smoke salmon occasionally and order fish when we rarely eat out as much as any other dish.

Remember a pint bottle of Mercury that my ex's dad had from long ago and how heavy it was. Used to take a bit out and fiddle with it also. Some times when the subject comes up I wonder what it might have done.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 7:09PM
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meldy_nva(z6b VA)

Package said fish were wild-caught in the North Atlantic. I thought those big fishing boats either froze immediately or took the catch to a nearish-by ship for processing. Either way, I just don't see testing done as more than an occasional sample.

I was maybe six when I broke a thermometer and reached for the pretty silver; mum had a fit which included an in-depth lecture on the properties of mercury (that happens when a parent is a chemist) and the damage it could do to the brain. I guess some of her lecture stuck but she never did explain why the mercury was red inside the thermometer and silver when running across the floor... which was what I was thinking about while "listening" to her.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Don, that was Pidge's son. I believe he wrote a book about it, or something related with the fishing industry.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 3:25PM
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The information below explains better than I did about the food chain.
This will not explain how the fish company knows that the filets are mercury free.

"?Once mercury gets into water, much of it settles to the bottom where
bacteria in the mud or sand convert it to the organic form of
methylmercury. Fish absorb methylmercury when they eat smaller aquatic
organisms. Larger and older fish absorb more methylmercury as they eat
other fish. In this way, the amount of methylmercury builds up as it
passes through the food chain. Fish eliminate methylmercury slowly,
and so it builds up in fish in much greater concentrations than in the
surrounding water. Methylmercury generally reaches the highest levels
in predatory fish at the top of the aquatic food chain.?";

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 5:48PM
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lindac(Iowa Z 5/4)

Red "mercury" is alcohol....silver thermometer stuff is mercury.
I don't think an every day lunch of a tuna sandwich is a good thing these days, but a salmon filet once a week is a good thing. I feel the omega 3 acid benefits out weigh the possible mercury contamination.
B ut a meal of crappie or bass or snapper ( not red snapper) is to be envied! I can't imagine someone who doesn't eat fish.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 8:07PM
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