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Idle Science

Seafood Raised on Animal Feces Approved for Consumers 386

If you are a seafood lover and wish that you could eat more fish raised on pig feces, your dreams are coming true. Due to fierce competition in the Chinese tilapia industry, farmers are increasingly switching to feces instead of commercial feed. From the article: "At Chen Qiang’s tilapia farm in Yangjiang city in China’s Guangdong province, which borders Hong Kong, Chen feeds fish partly with feces from hundreds of pigs and geese. That practice is dangerous for American consumers, says Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety. 'The manure the Chinese use to feed fish is frequently contaminated with microbes like salmonella,' says Doyle, who has studied foodborne diseases in China."
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Seafood Raised on Animal Feces Approved for Consumers

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  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @01:44AM (#41627613)

    Anyone with a dog has probably seen it eat, literally, crap.

    Heck, honey is basically bees throwing up for you.

    In the real world, animals are messy critters that eat a lot of stuff you would never eat yourself, some of which you would not survive eating.

    In the end it's a good reason to wash and cook food properly before eating, but not necessarily something to panic over, even practices that sounds as odd as this.

  • Re:Mad Fish Disease? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @02:56AM (#41627921) Homepage

    Well, there is in fact a real threat here. A common parasite in fresh water fish in tropical countries is the liver fluke, a worm that lives part of its cycle in the human gut and is responsible, in cases, for cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the bile duct. The worm attaches near the bile duct and produces chemicals that create cancer so it can eat the by-products. Nice little beast. It's a slow developing cancer that kills suddenly because it has no symptoms until it reaches a late stage. It's one of the commoner reasons for death among 50-year old males in countries where it's endemic.

    One assumes there's more resistance in populations that have been exposed to this parasite for thousands of years. Women suffer much less from bile duct cancer than men, so there's variation in individual vulnerability. But as Chinese fish is exported, and ends up in places like cheap sushi bars in Birmingham, the parasite ends up in thousands, perhaps millions of people who have little resistance.

    Attack of the Killer Sushi.

    I should know, I got bile duct cancer a year or two ago and since there were no antecedents in my family, this seemed the most likely cause.

    If we started feeding fish on pig feces, it's a slippery slope (sorry!) to feeding them human feces.

    Good news is a yearly de-worming should be sufficient to prevent bile-duct cancer, if anyone cared about this.

  • Tilapia != fish (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:24AM (#41628073)

    Tilapia is just fish for people who don't like fish.
    It is bland, with hardly any taste. I prefer fish that actually tastes like, you know, fish.
    Feeding tilapia manure will probably increase its flavour.

  • by oneiros27 ( 46144 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @05:40AM (#41628685) Homepage

    The origins of cooking likely had little to do with disease; you don't start having the problems at the scales we see in modern times until you've had domestication and keep them in more confined areas than they'd have been in nature. (which is basically, all farming, not just the factory stuff).

    The early advantage of cooking is that it although it may destroy some nutrients (hence the raw food movement), it makes others more available for human absorbtion, so there's a net gain. This is what's attributed to human's large brains -- they're rather costly in terms of energy, but cooking lets us spend less time eating for the same nutrients.

    And I say this as someone who's not allowed to give blood, as I'm an increased likelihood of Mad Cow. And I should mention that just bringing to a boil isn't enough for some food borne illnesses (eg, botulism or other spores), particularly if you're at an elevation significantly above sea level.

  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @08:00AM (#41629351)

    Our oxygen is plant shit, the co2 is other peoples shit, your vegetables grow on shit, your meat eats shits, you cook it on farts, you walk on shit and some of us consider clothes made from shit to be the height of luxury.

    It is a shitty world and it worse for those who believe in homeopathy.Water has memory? Oh good, so does it remember having been pissed out billions of times over the lifetime of the earth? And if water has memory, why doesn't it remember the time it was beer!

    The point isn't feces it's the fact they are planning to use raw sewage so the bacteria is the dangerous element. I think this once again brings up the question, why do we allow food imports from China!!!! Their standards are so low much of the food is potentially dangerous. Imported foods should always be held to the same standards as domestically produced foods. Better yet raise the food locally and create jobs and reduce oil consumption.

  • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @09:44AM (#41630295) Journal

    I love how the moderators freak out when they can't find that "-1 Criticizes my ideology" mod so they just pick "Offtopic" or "Overrated" instead (when the post is neither).

    In this case it's because there's no "-1 evil fuckbag" moderation option. If someone posted a long spiel about the joys of butt-raping 8 year old boys, or why Hitler was right about the Jews I would expect it to be modded down too.

    I always find it amusing when serious Randian/"libertarian"/extreme rightwing free market cheerleaders are surprised that some of their ideas disgust people.

  • by madhatter256 ( 443326 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @09:53AM (#41630455)

    I remember a Dirty Jobs episode where Mike Rowe was at a fish farm that recycled their water.

    They used tilapia/carp to eat the poop.

    Here's a clip of the show on youtube. []

    Regardless, stay away from fish harvested by Chinese. They are either grown in poorly maintained farms, or fished from endangered parts of the ocean where fisheries are nearly depleted.

  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <brian.bixby@gma i l . c om> on Friday October 12, 2012 @11:12AM (#41631595)
    voluntarily informed ingredients

    Because an international mega-corp would never lie to consumers, right? If you're under 40 you have probably never heard of the 'truth in packaging' laws, or the reasons why they exist. Things were bad enough that even the frelling Chamber of Commerce joined with consumers groups to lobby for the legislation.

    If you're over 40 and still believe this libertardian garbage then your blinders are on so tight you're probably beyond hope. Not sure why you think that everyone can afford to contract with a lab to analyze their corn flakes to see if they're made with mercury or contain measurable amounts of pesticides. You must belong to a distinctly higher income class than the rest of us.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger