Today Show comes clean on contaminated seafood imports

Submitted by Catherine Schmitt on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:47

I doubt that NBC's Jeff Rossen read my blog post about the lack of coverage of seafood imports, but his November 17 story on the risks associated with imported seafood--80% of the seafood Americans eat--is a good step toward filling the gap in consumer awareness. Despite the panic-inducing tone to the "investigative report," the reality is that it is getting easier to find out where your seafood comes from. A federal law passed in 2005 (P.L. 108-199) mandates that retailers label fresh and frozen unprocessed fish and shellfish with the country of origin and method of production (wild-caught or farm-raised). Your local fishmonger also should be able to tell you which of the "U.S. origin" seafood is from your region or state.

As for restaurants, I'm hopeful that the current locavore movement toward locally grown, minimally processed foods has more chefs advertising the origin of menu items, and if not, then more restaurant customers are asking their server about the source of seafood on the menu. Is answering, "I don't know" or citing a wholesale distributor acceptable in these pasture-fed, free-range, biodynamic, organic, cruelty-free, wild-caught, locally-grown times?

I'll be digging a bit deeper into the issue of local, sustainable seafood in the coming weeks. Feedback or comments? E-mail me at catherine.schmitt@umit.maine.edu.