Concerns raised about imported seafood

An inspector from NOAA\'s Seafood Inspection Program conducts sensory analysis - a smell test - of a sample of fish. (Courtesy NOAA)

WASHINGTON – Health experts say fish is a good addition to any diet, but new information suggests buyers should beware.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports seafood tainted with antibiotics and bacteria are showing up on U.S. dinner tables.

The problem, consumer advocates say, is some foreign fish farms don’t follow U.S. safety standards, and 86 percent of fish is imported, according to, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Of that 86 percent, half comes from aquaculture.

Only about 3 percent of imported food is inspected by the Food and Drug Administration along with a handful of overseas processing facilities.

In Vietnam, for instance, shrimp are stored in ice made from water that may be contaminated says Businessweek.

In one China farm, fish are sometimes given food containing pig and geese manure. Other fish are given antibiotics that are banned in the U.S.

About 27 percent of U.S. seafood comes from China, Businessweek reports.

Experts say avoid farmed fish and check the country or origin before purchase.

The purchase of fish labeled as “sustainable” or “wild caught” is also encouraged.< /a> offers an extensive list of what to look for when purchasing seafood both from the freezer and fresh at the counter.

But one quick word of advice from NOAA, if the fish smells fishy, don’t buy it.

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WTOP’s Jeanne Meserve and Lacey Mason contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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