Seafood Myths

Many myths and misconceptions have sprung up concerning seafood.

1. Myth: Oysters and other shellfish should be eaten only in months with an "r" in them.

Fact: So far as North America is concerned, this is not true. Under commercial raising and harvesting conditions, oysters and other shellfish are safe and good to eat any month of the year. Certain European oysters, which brood their young in months without an "r" are less palatable at that time of year, but this rule doesn't apply to North American oysters, which don't brood their young. As a contradiction to the myth about "r" months, shellfish containing a paralytic shellfish poison are occasionally found along the Pacific Coast in "r" months. When this occurs, people are warned against gathering and eating these particular shellfish. The cardinal rule is that any commercially available shellfish is non-toxic and safe to eat.

2. Myth: Eating seafood with fresh milk will make you sick.

Fact: This is totally untrue, both from observation and the application of logic; the combination of two wholesome foods cannot possibly make one sick.

3. Myth: Mahi-Mahi is actually porpoise meat.

Fact: This myth probably originated because the Mahi-Mahi is also called dolphin fish or dolphin. Mahi-Mahi is really a fish, caught in tropical waters and marketed throughout the world. The dolphin, as a mammal, is protected by the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, and is not harvested or used for food in the United States and Canada.

4. Myth: Frozen seafood is inferior to fresh seafood.

Fact: Many years ago most seafood was caught in a derby style environment when all the boats would go out together – once or twice in the year - and all return back to port together. What didn’t get sold fresh was usually frozen (after sitting around for a few days) to be sold later. Sometime the quality would be less than stellar. Now with more open controlled fisheries, landings are spread out to meet market conditions and an oversupply of seafood rarely occurs. Moreover, with the advent of better on board Freezers – many fishing vessels have chosen to freeze their catch immediately at sea – producing a quality second to none. In fact, Seafood connoisseurs consider FAS (Frozen At Sea) seafood to be superior to even fresh product.

5. Myth: Most fish contains mercury, so it's better to play it safe and only eat fish occasionally.

Fact: The benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. A team of scientists at Harvard School of Public Health recently reported that the death rate from heart disease was 36 percent lower among people who ate fish twice a week compared with people who ate little or no seafood. The study, which was published in the October 18, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also showed that overall mortality was 17 percent lower among the seafood eaters. Nearly all fish contain minute amounts of mercury, but among commercially available fish and shellfish in the North America, the most commonly eaten species (such as shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, and pollock) are generally low in mercury and pose little risk to most people. On the plus side, seafood is a rich source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to enhance brain and eye development of the fetus, promote a healthy pregnancy, aid thinking and learning during childhood, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and slow mental decline as people age.

6. Myth: Tuna is high in mercury and should be avoided.

Fact: Actually, Locally caught Canadian Albacore Tuna has been shown to have mercury levels about 66% below Canadian federal food safety standards and 83% below USFDA safety standards. Canadian Albacore Tuna is an excellent and affordable source of lean protein and contains certain essential vitamins and minerals. Moreover, the types of fats present in tuna are those that are heart-healthy and help reduce blood fat levels and increase the level of "good" cholesterol in the blood.

7. Myth: Fatty acids, in fact anything with the word "fat", are bad for you and will lead to heart attacks.

Fact: Not all fats are the same. The body uses certain types of fatty acids to build cell membranes and other important and fundamental body components. In moderate and recommended amounts, which may be lower than most North Americans consume, fat is needed by the body. The kind of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are especially important for building and maintaining brain tissue and the retina of the eye. They are most readily available from seafood, but tiny amounts can be made from the plant-based omega-3 found in flax oil, walnuts and canola oil. The plant-based omega-3, while healthful, is not as effective as the omega-3s in seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect against cardiovascular disease (when foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are substituted for foods high in saturated fats, and when fat in the diet is kept to recommended levels), because they reduce abnormal heart rhythms, lower blood triglyceride levels, slow the rate of plaque formation and improve arterial health. They can also reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.

8. Myth: Seafood that comes from Salt-water is naturally high in Sodium.

Fact: Sodium levels vary widely in seafood – seafood that comes from the salty sea isn’t necessarily any higher in Sodium than fish caught in Fresh water.

9. Myth: Fish has an unpleasant taste and strong smell, - It’s Fishy.

Fact: Wholesome fish has a mild taste and smell. In most cases seafood goes bad only after it has been improperly stored. Make sure you always buy from reputable vendors like Albion and you're sure to have a great seafood experience.

10. Myth: Cooking Seafood is difficult.

Fact: Actually it’s not anymore difficult than cooking Beef or Chicken – Fish recipes have come a long, long way since the days when one brand of frozen fish sticks was—the only choice. Fish can used in patties, tacos and chowders; fish steaks can be marinated and grilled, and fish can be baked instead of fried, which makes your meal lower in fat. A wide variety of marinades and spices are available to tempt your palate, and numerous recipes are now easy to find. Check out our handy recipe section for easy and tasty recipes anyone can produce.