Swai Fish – 6 Strong Reasons to Avoid It

Swai Fish

Wild Caught Fish can be mouthwatering and delicious when it comes to taste.

Swai Fish might be your favorite but do you know the facts about it?

Swai or Iridescent Shark is a type of catfish native to the rivers of Southeast Asia.

It is a white-flesh fish that is ideal for grilling, frying, and broiling.

It can grow fast and found in the market as Shark Catfish.

Many people opt for Swai because it is affordable in price as it costs $ 2 per pound.

Unlikely, Its cheap price tag may lead to significant problems due to its low level of standards and regulation.

What is Swai Fish?

Swai is a white flesh fish also known as Pangasianodon Hypophthalmus contains a flaky texture and a mild flavor.

It is popular in the US for many years and gets imported from Vietnam, South East Asia.

Many experts avoid eating Swai due to its misleading name.

Other names and its related species: Pangasius, Cream Dory, Striped Catfish, Tra, Basa, Sutchi.

Is It Safe to Eat Swai Fish?

Swai contains lean protein, some Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and other nutritional values.

It also comes with a pleasing taste that makes it more popular in the market.

The actual matter of concern is that it comes from what sources.

Things You Need to Inspect

  • In what conditions fish get raised?
  • Is it grown in cleared or contaminated water?
  • Is it of High Quality?
  • Have they fed natural food or garbage food?

The fact is that mostly Basa and Swai grows in Vietnamese fish farms.

Its farm water contains bacteria, chemical pollutants, algae or industrial waste.

According to food inspection reports, they are also suspect to give growth hormones to increase profitability.

Many food experts discover that Swai and Basa often fed restaurant’s food waste. No doubt these are edible but are unhealthy to eat.

It is necessary to look for the quality before buying it at a low cost.

It may contain heavy metals and toxins from the polluted water.

They might have fed with garbage food instead of their natural diet.

Fish that you must surely avoid: Imported Catfish, Mackerel, Tilapia, Eel, Pangasius, Tilefish, Sea Bass.

Why Should You Avoid Swai Fish?

Asia is well known for its fish farming and heavily imports to the US.

Swai grows or raises in factory farms that contains high toxins.

When imported fish enters the USA, it does not have to pass the standard rules.

It is not up to the mark of inspections and regulations of the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Here I am sharing viable reasons why you should not consume Swai or Basa.

1. Contaminated Water

Contaminated Water

In actual, the reality is that the farms water is dirty and overcrowded.

It is a serious concern as the fish or meat can easily get contaminated.

The polluted water can easily get transferred to the person who will consume it.

It not only harms the ecological balance but also leads to human health problems.

It can affect your health if you eat a contaminated fish.

2. Toxins from Factory Farming

The Swai generally grows in factory farms of the Mekong Delta that is dirty and overcrowded.

They also feed them with rotten foods from the restaurants or farm waste.

It further builds up the toxins in the fish meat and can transfer to you.

Not only this Swai are treated with citric acid and phosphate when processing.

These chemicals absorb water into the fish before being frozen.

The over-consumption of phosphate may lead to heart and kidney disease symptoms.

It also increases their weight by up to 20 percent so that farmers can earn huge profits.

3. Use of Antibiotics or Growth Hormones

The farmers use antibiotics and growth hormones to feed the Swai Fish.

According to the US reports, In 2016 nearly 40,000 of Swai found contaminated issues.

The reason is to increase the weight of the fish and let it grow quickly.

Generally, Pathogens is a type of fish that spread easily under these conditions.

It may lead to indigestion and may hamper your health.

In the United States the antibiotics are banned, but in Asian Countries, it is not.

So, they make use of it in the feed of the fish.

It is not safe for the consumer especially children to eat Swai fish.

4. Mercury

Swai also contains a high level of dangerous mercury.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost every fish and shellfish contain a small amount of mercury.

The fish that are low in mercury are canned light tuna, catfish, shrimp, and salmon.

Swai is high in mercury levels that may hamper your health.

The mercury built up in the fish tissues and remains there.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that mercury contamination is widespread in large scale.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the four fish with the highest levels of mercury – Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, and Tilefish.

Mercury Measures

Types Parts per million (ppm)
Sardines 0.013 ppm
Tilapia 0.013 ppm
Fresh or Frozen Salmon 0.022 ppm
Butterfish 0.058 ppm
Trout 0.071 ppm
Herring 0.084 ppm
Whitefish 0.089 ppm
Canned Light Tuna 0.128 ppm
King Mackerel 0.730 ppm
Tilefish 1.450 ppm

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends limiting the meals to 12 ounces of fish per week to avoid mercury.

It means you can consume in a limited quantity that is low in mercury and keeps your heart healthy.

5. Pollution

In fish farms, the water is dirty and contaminated due to overcrowded conditions.

The water of the fish ponds, untreated wastewater flows directly into the rivers.

It is a big problem as fish swims in waste and sludge.

The consumption of unprocessed, uncooked or contaminated fish can be a risk to health.

It gets easily transferred to the person who consumes white meat fillets.

The wastewater and pollution not only damages the river life but also leads to health issues.

6. Contains Microbes

Fish Contains Microbes

In 2016 Survey, 70 to 80 percent of Pangasius samples contain Vibrio bacteria.

It is the types of microbes that are related to the fish poisoning.

The foodborne illness causes due to bacteria, parasites, and virus in the seafood.

Bacteria present in the food can cause illness due to infection and intoxication.

The types of bacteria found in seafood are Vibrio, Shigella, Salmonella or Listeria.

Seafood Fraud

Seafood Fraud is most common in the fish industry than you might think.

It includes:

  • Mislabeling of Seafood
  • Hefty Price Tag
  • Selling of Intoxicated and Allergens Fish

In the US alone sea fraud is nearly 30%, and around 58% of seafood species cause health problems.

The people do sea frauds to earn more profits and money.

Mislabeled fish may lead to the serious health risk that needs to be tested and controlled.

According to Ocean Conservation Advocacy Group Oceana, In 25,000 samples one in five tested globally mislabeled.

The customers have to pay a high price than what they are in actually getting.

Many reports found that seafood fraud was discovered worldwide through supply chains.

Consumers are affected in case of money, health, and sustainability level.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Swai Fish Good for Your Health?

The contaminated fish coming from the dirty waters is not beneficial to health.

It contains pollutants, drugs, and antioxidants or may raise in the contaminated water.

It can cause a tremendous threat to the health and lead to many problems.

Swai may contain protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids but can be harmful to eat if it’s contaminated.

Those who want to add it to their diet must know from what sources it is coming.

2. Is Vietnamese Swai Fish Safe to Eat?

In Vietnam, the Swai grows with heavy metals and toxins from the polluted water.

Swai and Basa are not fed with their natural food instead given food pallets mixed with soy and antibiotics.

Farmers also fed food garbage and growth hormones that are harmful to health.

It is suggested not to eat Tilapia, Basa or Swai.

3. Should You Eat Swai Fish or Avoid It?

Many people who eat Swai may not be aware of its production in crowded fish farms.

Mekong Delta is the fish farms of Vietnamese from where Swai gets imported.

These farms are highly contaminated, and the protein content is average as compared to others.

Also, Swai is feed with rice bran, soy, canola, and harmful drugs or antibiotics.

Generally, they use antibiotics to reduce infections in the crowded fish farms.

Unlikely, its overuse may lead to bacterial resistance.

It is better to avoid and go for other best alternatives that are safe to eat.

Scroll to Top