The dangers of eating fish and shellfish

You can't count on government to protect you from dangerous fish and shellfish

Thanks go to The Baltimore Sun and reporter Catherine Rentz for the in-depth and alarming look at seafood fraud ("Seafood fraud cases plummet as NOAA cuts investigators," Dec. 6). Although 94 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, 2 percent or less is inspected by the FDA. DNA testing found that a third of the sampled fish sold nationwide are mislabeled.

In addition to the financial harm caused by this fraud, there are the very serious health hazards of allergens and higher concentrations of mercury and other toxins. Fish and shellfish also contain cholesterol and saturated fat, along with pathogenic bacteria, viruses and parasites. In an analysis of food-borne outbreaks over the past decade, seafood was, in fact, found to be by far the most hazardous food to eat.

Fishing is also destroying aquatic ecosystems and devastating aquatic species. Science has shown that fish suffer fear and pain. They and other sentient aquatic species are killed by the trillions every year, subjected to some of the worst cruelties imaginable. Human slavery is also rampant in the fishing industry.

Don't count on the government to protect you. Safeguard your own health and that of your family by opting instead from the bounty of plant-sourced seafood. Safe, convenient, and affordable, there are delicious vegan versions of every type of seafood imaginable. Links to recipes and products can be found on our website.

Mary Finelli, Silver Spring

The writer is president of Fish Feel, a non-profit organization devoted exclusively to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection.

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