Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What Makes a Fish Organic?

A recent controversy at the Department of Agriculture has the seafood industry swimming in all different directions. Given the cache of the "organic" label, there is a lot of interest in being able to finally market fish as such. But unlike other agricultural products, what constitutes such designation is quite mirky when it comes to seafood. The issue comes down largely to what a fish eats. In order to qualify for the organic label, the fish must be fed an organic diet. This is easy to control for vegetarian fish like tilapia and catfish, but what about fish like salmon that eat other fish? Or, for that matter, wild salmon who were not farmed but rather fed off the ocean's habitat? According to current regulations, wild salmon would not be able to be labeled organic yet farmed salmon that abided by organic bylaws could. So when it comes to buying seafood, it may be important to look beyond the label and find out where your fish swam before making its way to your dining room table.


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