Tilapia is a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-prepare fish that many people enjoy consuming. Some studies on tilapia farming activities, however, have led people to worry about whether the fish is safe to eat or not.
We address some of the common concerns in this article about the cultivation, protection, breeding, and nutritional value of tilapia.
What does tilapia mean?
One of the most common fish to eat in the United States is tilapia.
Tilapia is a lean, lightly flavoured fish that is simple to prepare and relatively cheap. In 2016, tilapia was fourth on a list of the seafood species most likely to be eaten by people in the United States.
Tilapia fish can live even in poor-quality water or overcrowded conditions and are very adaptable. They grow rapidly, so they are a common farming choice. Native to the Nile River in Northeast Africa, the most common farmed species is
What are the questions about farming tilapia?
Worldwide, there are tilapia farms. Fish do not withstand cold water, so agriculture is typically carried out in warmer climates. The fish farming requirements differ according to the country and the farm.
Tilapia is a very good fish that, under a number of circumstances, can survive. If one of the fish escapes, this may cause problems, as they can become an invasive species. In the United States, in closed tanks, tilapia farming takes place to keep the fish from escaping.
Raising tilapia can result in disease and overcrowding in cramped conditions. Tilapia consumes algae, but with a number of foods it can survive. A healthy fish can usually produce a good-quality diet and a clean, spacious climate.
Fish sources are labelled according to their sustainability by the Ocean Wise scheme. The long-term survival of the species, its wellbeing, environmental degradation and the effect of fishing on the broader ecosystem are thus taken into account.
Pond farms in China and Taiwan and open-net pen farms in Colombia are examples of non-sustainable sources of tilapia.
Among the sustainable sources of tilapia are:
Ecuadorian Tilapia Pond Farms
Peruvian Blue Tilapia Raceway Farms
Open-net pen farms for Nile tilapia in Mexico, Honduras, and Indonesia
In the United States, tilapia recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farms
Is eating tilapia safe?
The fish are safe to eat when farms grow the tilapia in good conditions. For pregnant or breast-feeding women and children over the age of 2 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists tilapia as one of the best options. This is due to the low content of mercury and toxins.
Is tilapia engineered genetically?
The FDA has not approved any genetically modified tilapia in the U.S. as of July 2018.
Over time, selective breeding has induced improvements in the genes of most farmed animals and fish. Sometimes, the organisms on farms look different from those in the wild.
Selective breeding can increase the amount of an animal’s meat or make it easier to farm a species. This typically has no harmful effects on individuals who consume meat or fish.
However, for the following words, people may want to review food labels:
Genetically altered (GM)
Genetically produced (GE)
Biologically Engineered (BE)
These terms indicate that the DNA of an animal or plant has been altered in the laboratory by scientists. This is a common method of making plants immune, such as glyphosate, to disease, pests, or chemicals.
The AquAdvantage salmon that AquaBounty Technologies developed was the first GE fish that the FDA approved for sale in the U.S. As a consequence of higher growth hormone levels, this fish develops more rapidly than it does in the wild. More antibiotics and food dyes in their feed may also be present in these GE salmon.
The FDA concluded after an investigation that, despite several organisations and experts raising questions, the AquAdvantage salmon are safe to consume and did not pose a danger to the environment. No GE tilapia has yet been licenced by the FDA, while AquaBounty Technologies is currently developing GE trout, catfish and other fish that it plans to commercially market.
A new method for labelling GM foods is being created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This will make it easy for customers to understand which foods are GM.
Do dioxins produce tilapia?
Dioxins are poisonous compounds that are detrimental to health and that pollute the atmosphere. They can be found in the tissues of plants, fish, and shellfish that can be consumed by humans. The majority of nations search food for contamination with dioxin.
A common source of dioxin is contaminated animal feed. It is unlikely to produce dangerous levels of dioxin as long as farms use feed that meets safety requirements.
Tilapia is no more likely than any other form of fish to produce dioxins.
What does tilapia do for nutrition?
Tilapia contains fatty acids that are essential and is a protein source.
Tilapia is a protein source and is comparatively low in fat. Generally, eating fish is a better way of consuming protein than fried, processed, or red meat. Tilapia is also lower than bacon and other processed meats in sodium, calories, and total fat and, unlike them, it does not contain nitrates that can possibly cause cancer.
The essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are found in tilapia. The fatty acids of omega-3 contribute to the health of the heart, vision and joint strength. If people eat them in abundance, Omega-6 fatty acids can be less good for wellbeing, since they can induce or exacerbate inflammation.
Tilapia contains more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The total fat content of a tilapia fillet, however, is low, so an individual will only consume a small amount of omega-6 when the fish is eaten.
Tilapia is less nutritious than salmon due to its higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. It still does, however, have more omega-3 than other meats. In 2018, research found that giving enriched feed to tilapia fish further increases their omega-3 content.
What are the advantages of tilapia for your health?
Lean fish should be consumed by people at least twice a week as part of a balanced diet. Tilapia is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both essential for good health.
The selection of tilapia from a responsible source will minimise health risks. To check the source of their fish, consumers should look for the country of origin or the Ocean Wise mark.
What alternatives to tilapia are there?
A very small amount of fat and calories is found in lean fish, making it a healthy option. Tilapia is a lean fish, but more omega-3 fatty acids are found in other fish.
Other lean, low-mercury fish with strong omega-3 content are available and can be a better alternative than tilapia. They include:
Many individuals love to eat tilapia, which is low in fat and a good source of protein. Worldwide, there are tilapia farms. Their fish are safe to eat if these farms maintain good conditions.
Choosing tilapia from a responsible source ensures that it is safe, healthy, and sustainable for the fish a person eats. To check the source of their fish, consumers should look for the country of origin or the Ocean Wise mark.
It is best to choose a low-mercury fish containing more omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acids, such as sardines or salmon, when eating fish. However, a better choice than red meat and processed meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, and burgers, is still non-GE tilapia.