Cheap cheap fish! Here’s an ad (from one of the hypermarches in France) for the fish called Pangas (also known as Pangasius, Vietnamese River Cobbler, Basa Fish and White Catfish). I took it as a reminder to alert you to the dangers of this weird fish. I learned about Pangas not long ago. It’s online here: Documentary all about Pangas.(in French)
Poisson ou poison?
Pangas, which are industrially farmed in Vietnam along the Mekong River, has only been recently introduced to the French market, but in a very short time, it’s gotten very popular in France. The French are slurping up Pangas like it’s their last meal of ramen. It’s dirt cheap, is sold de-boned and it has a mild flavor and texture; people compare it to cod and sole. But as tasty as some may find it, there lurks something immensely unsavory about it. I’m not saying there aren’t problems with other food like pork and other meats, I’m just making a point about this particular fish and hope it will serve as very important information for you and your future choices.
Here’s why I think it should be avoided like the plague:
1. Pangas are infested with high levels of poisons and bacteria. (arsenic, industrial effluents and toxic and hazardous by-products of the growing industrial sector, metal contaminants, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT and its metabolites (DDTs), chlordane-related compounds (CHLs), hexachlorocyclohexane isomers (HCHs), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB)). The Mekong River is one of the most polluted rivers on the planet and this is where pangas are farmed.A sidenote: our friend lab tests pangas and tells us to avoid eating them due to high amounts of contamination. They are still accepted by large markets and they still sell them to the general public knowing they are contaminated.
2. Pangas are packed frozen in contaminated river water. Ew.
3. Pangas are environmentally devastating, a most unsustainable food you could possibly eat – You know how you should “buy local” in order to create the least amount of environmental harm as possible? This is the very opposite end of that spectrum of sustainable consumerism. Pangas are raised in Vietnam. The food fed to Pangas comes from Peru (more on that below), their hormones (which are injected into the female Pangas) come from China. (More about that below) THEN, they are transported from Vietnam to France. That’s not just a giant carbon foot print, that’s a carbon continent of a foot print.
4. There’s nothing natural about Pangas – They’re fed dead fish remnants and bones, dried and ground into a flour, from South America, manioc (cassava) and residue from soy and grains. Obviously, this type of nourishment doesn’t even remotely resemble what they eat in a natural environment. But what it does resemble is the method of feeding mad cows (cows were fed cows, remember?) What they feed pangas is completely unregulated so there are most likely other harmful substances and hormones thrown into the mix. The pangas grow 4 times faster than in nature…so what is exactly in their food? You guess is as good as mine.
5. Pangas are Injected with PEE – Honestly, I don’t know how they figured this one out but they’ve discovered that if they inject female Pangas with hormones derived from the dehydrated urine of pregnant women, the female Pangas grow faster and produce their eggs faster (one Panga can lay approximately 500,000 eggs at one time). Essentially, they’re injecting fish with hormones (they come all of the way from a pharmaceutical company in China) to speed up the process of growth and reproduction. That just can’t be good. Ok, now some of you
crazy ass people out there might not mind eating fish injected with dehydrated pee and if you don’t good for you, but just consider the rest of the reasons to NOT eat it.
6. You get what you pay for – and then some. Don’t be lured in by insanely cheap price of Pangas. Is it worth risking your health?
7. Buying Pangas supports unscrupulous, giant, greedy evil corporations that don’t care about the health and well-being of humans. They only are concerned about selling as many pangas as possible to unsuspecting consumers. These corporations only care about bottom line.
8. Pangas will make you sick – If (for reasons in #1 above) you don’t get immediately ill with vomiting, diarrhea and effects from severe food poisoning, congratulations, you have an iron stomach! But you’re still ingesting POISON not poisson.
Another note: due to the prodigious amount of availability of Pangas, be warned that it will surely end up in other foods: surimi (those pressed fish things), fish terrines, and probably in some pet foods. (Warn your dogs and cats!)
Watch this Report on Pangas
(Video excerpt from Capitale on M6, which aired about 3 months ago)
Links: Buying fish in France, Le Panga, nouvelle abération de la mondialisation ?, carnival of the green