I read this story in the Dutch Newspaper about freshwater eels and was so repulsed, I had to write about it.
Eels are a delicacy. Loved by many people. The fishers and dealers tell you that it's a fat, tasty fish. And consumers hear time and time again that fat fish is very healthy, because fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. But do you know about the horrible eel facts?
This week, the Dutch TV (Vara, Zembla) featured a story that many eels found in restaurants and stores are so highly toxic, that under EU law it is prohibited to sell them for consumption.
However, fishers don't care and keep catching eels from highly polluted waters and sell to innocent customers. Business is business.
The government is aware of this, but doing nothing. Even though scientists keep warning the Dutch government that it is not safe to eat these toxic eels.
According to the scientists the fishers are more important than food safety. J. Schobben director of the environmental institute Imares says on TV: 'If eel is no longer caught, you solve the food safety issue, but then the fish industry must be compensated.'
Freshwater eels from the large Dutch rivers have up to 7x the allowed concentration of dioxin (like PCB's).
If you eat more than 150 gram of dioxin eel a month your hormones may get disturbed and it is well known that dioxin causes cancer. In children, dioxin causes learning disabilities and it may cause infertility.
Dioxin is especially noxious for pregnant woman and their unborn child.
Unlike the French government, the responsible government officials in the Netherlands didn't think it was necessary to prohibit catching the toxic eels. Rather, they said, it was the responsibility of the fishing industry. The government promised to check regularly.
From the TV documentary it appears that the government didn't check the level of dioxin from eels in stores and the didn't inform the public about the health hazard of eating toxic eel and dioxin.
Again, many requests were made to the government to prohibit catching freshwater eels from toxic rivers. And since the eel is on the list of endangered animals, toxicity shouldn't be the only reason.
By the way, you may wonder why people want to eat eel anyway. They live close to or on the bottom of the river (or sea), in the middle of dirt and pollution (not just dioxin).
In addition, eels are scavengers, eating dead and decaying animals and fish. Eel is not considered kosher. And don't eat eel raw either, their raw blood is toxic to humans and mammals.
So, if you care for your health and the animals, think twice before eating freshwater eels.
Go here for great alternatives and healthy recipes.
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