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The Dirty Dozen Fish: Watch Out for this Seafood


Last week the Environmental Working Group shared their 2011 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. This week, we want to share similar information regarding seafood.

Food & Water Watch, another fantastic non-profit, has their own Dirty Dozen list for fish. They selected fish that fail at least two of their criteria for safe and sustainable seafood:
• The fish contains mercury or PCBs that can cause serious health problems.
• The fish is imported from countries where health, environmental or safety standards for growing or catching fish are weak and/or non-existent.
• Many wild fish are managed poorly, are caught using gear that can hurt habitat and other wildlife, and/or the stocks are becoming depleted.
• Less than 2% of imported fish to the U.S. is tested for contamination.
Here’s their Dirty Dozen Fish List (the order listed does not reflect a ranking):

1. Atlantic Cod

2. Atlantic Flatfish, e.g. Atlantic halibut, flounder and sole

3. Caviar, especially from beluga and other wild-caught sturgeon

4. Chilean sea bass

5. Eel

6. Farmed salmon, often called “Atlantic salmon.” (Tip: don’t be fooled by “organic” salmon – it’s usually farmed internationally and not certified by U.S. standards.)

7. Imported Basa/Swai/Tra: (Tip: These are often called “catfish” — ask where it is from and check country of origin labels.)

8. Imported farmed shrimp

9. Imported king crab

10. Orange roughy

11. Shark

12. Tuna, especially Atlantic bluefin (Pacific albacore and Atlantic skipjack are exempted)

Find out more about selecting and preparing safer seafood at



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