The Trouble with Swai

My only problem with Acme in New Orleans is that they stopped serving catfish and started serving swai instead, as have many spots around New Orleans (In LA they often use it for fish and chips). You will notice on some menus around town they just say “fried fish” now, because it’s swai. Sorry to do this to you when you are looking for an appetizing food blog, but I have a thing about swai.

I have posted a separate article about Acme but I wanted to talk about this fish. Here is some info from Healthline.

Swai [that are raised on freshwater farms in Viet Nam] don’t have particularly healthy diets. They’re typically fed rice bran, soy, canola and fish by-products. The soy and canola products are commonly genetically modified, which is a controversial practice. 

The effect of swai fish farms on the ecosystem is a major concern. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program lists swai as a fish that should be avoided, as some swai fish farms generate waste products that are illegally dumped into rivers. The improper disposal of wastewater is especially concerning because swai fish farms use a lot of chemical agents, including disinfectants, anti-parasitic drugs and antibiotics. [Some] research has shown mercury levels in swai that are above the World Health Organization’s recommended limit in 50% of the samples tested. 

When swai and other fish are grown on crowded fish farms, the risk of infectious diseases in the fish increases. In one study, 70–80% of swai samples exported to Poland, Germany and Ukraine were contaminated with Vibrio bacteria, a microbe commonly involved in shellfish food poisoning in people. Some of the same antibiotics [given to the fish] are also used to treat human infections. If they’re overused and the bacteria become resistant to them, it could leave people without effective treatments for certain diseases. Seriously, find out exactly what fish you are eating.

This entry was posted in catfish. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *