It has been widely acknowledged that fish from the Asian market brought to America are being fed with pig feces.
This was further accentuated in the November issue of Bloomberg Markets magazine. In this publication emphasis was placed on safety and food poisoning and it highlighted the fact that in some parts of Asia it is common practice to feed fish with pig feces.
The publication also gave a case study on a fish factory in Southern Vietnam; it stated that there were baskets of shrimps with flies crawling all over the shrimps.
While Bloomberg in its report stated that some fish factories used ice to preserve their seafood and commended such plants. However it raised the question of the type of water used to make the ice as it discovered that the water used in some plants were contaminated with bacteria that could be harmful to human beings.
It is interesting to note that about 8% of shrimps sold in the U.S is shipped from Vietnam. It is estimated that they supply about 100 million pounds of shrimp annually.
In June last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a total prohibition on South Korean shellfish, which include mussels and clams because it was believed that these shellfish may have been exposed to human feces and contaminated. The FDA stated that not less than four Americans had fallen ill after consuming South Korean seafood.
In a tilapia fish farm in the outskirts of Hong Kong, the fish are fed with geese and pig feces.
According to Michael Doyle the director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia the pig and geese feces is unsafe as the manure may be contaminated with salmonella. This he stated is unsafe to U.S. Consumers. He further informed Bloomberg that these farms and farmers use feces of animals to feed their fish as an alternative to using commercial fish food because of the cost implication.
The Bloomberg report also stated that while the FDA carries out routine inspection on seafood shipped into the country, it is only able to inspect about 3% of shipments because of its meagre resources and manpower. It further stated that the FDA has sent back about 1,380 shipments of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 because of salmonella and filth discovered.
An officer of the American Tilapia Association and a foremost expert on seafood production in Asia -- Prof. Kevin Fitzsimmons has however stated that after he read the Bloomberg report, he felt that it was a bit misleading with the intention of scaring Americans by making the situation appear extremely appalling.
The professor and research scientist at the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences stated that he has been in Asia for many year and therefore has a first-hand knowledge of the workings out there and that he was in fact heading over there for a conference on tilapia, he told ABC News.
He stated that the volume of seafood shipped from Asia to the U.S is in the range of hundreds of thousands if not millions and so if just 1,380 have been sent back to Vietnam since 2007, the number is minute.
He further stated that the practice of feeding fish with pig feces is a practice that dates back thousands of years. He explained that the fish are not eating the feces but rather the feces will increase the algae bloom in the water which in turn produces the plankton that the fish then eat.