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Swai Fish

Swai Fish its Nutritional Value & Concerns About Swai Fish Farming

What Is Swai Fish and Where Does It Come From?

Swai can be described as a white-fleshed soft fish with the firmest texture and a neutral taste. This means it can take easily the flavor of other ingredients.

Based on the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the swai is ranked as the sixth most popular fish in the country.

It’s a native of the Asian continent’s Mekong River. Swai, however, that is available to consumers is often produced by farms of fish in Vietnam.

Swai production is a major source of income in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is among the largest freshwater fishing industries around the world.

Previously, swai brought to the US was known as Asian catfish. In 2003 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopted a law that stipulates that only fish belonging to the Ictaluridae family which includes American catfish, but not swai, could be classified or advertised as catfish.

Swai is part of a distinct but closely related family called Pangasiidae and the scientific name of it is Pangasius hypophthalmus.

The other terms for the swai, as well as related species, include panga, pangasius, sutchi cream dory catfish Vietnamese catfish basa.

Nutritional Value:

Fish consumption is usually recommended since it provides lean protein as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

Protein content in swai is standard when compared to other common fishes however, it has the least amount of omega-3 fat.

A 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of uncooked swai has:

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 15 grams
  • The Fat Content: 1.5 grams
  • Omega-3 fat: 11 mg
  • Cholesterol in 45 grams
  • Carbs 0.01 grams
  • Sodium: 350 mg
  • Niacin: 14% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin B12: 19% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 26% of the RDI

To give you an idea of the above, the same portion of salmon contains the equivalent of 24 grams of protein as well as 1,200-2,400 mg of omega-3 fat. In contrast, American catfish packs 15g of protein as well as 100-250 mg of omega-3 fats in just 4 8 ounces (113 grams).

The sodium content in swai could be lower or higher than the above figure dependent on the amount of sodium tripolyphosphate, a chemical ingredient that helps to keep moisture in the process is added to the process.

Swai is a great source of selenium, and also an excellent source of niacin as well as vitamin B12. However, amounts may vary depending on the type of fish that is fed.

Swai aren’t particularly healthy diets. They’re usually given rice bran soy, as well as fish by-products. Soy and canola are often genetically altered and are an issue.

Concerns About Swai Fish Farming:

The impact of swai fishing farming on our ecosystem is a significant issue.

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program includes swai as one of the fish to avoid since some swai farms generate waste products that are illegally disposed of into rivers.

The inadvertent treatment of wastewater is particularly worrying because swai fish farms are awash with chemical substances, including disinfectants, anti-parasitic medicines, and antibiotics.

Mercury contamination is another issue. A few studies have shown satisfactory levels of mercury within swai samples from Vietnam as well as other southeastern and southern regions of Asia.

However, research in other areas has revealed the levels of mercury in swai are higher than the recommended World Health Organization limit for 50% of the samples that were tested.

These issues call for the need to improve water quality at swai fishing farms, as well as more effective quality control tests for the fish throughout the process of import.

Antibiotics Are Heavily Used During Production:

If swai fish, as well as other fish, are raised on overcrowded farms for fish, the chance of developing infectious diseases in fish is increased.

A study found that 70 to 80 percent of samples of swai exported in Poland, Germany, and Ukraine were contaminated by Vibrio bacteria A microbe that is often involved in food poisoning from shellfish in people.

To fight bacterial infections swai fish are frequently given antibiotics as well as other drugs. However, there are some disadvantages. Antibiotic residues could persist in the fish and the drug could get into waterways that are nearby.

In a review of exported seafood products, the swai and various Asian seafood were the most often found to exceed the limits for drug residues. Vietnam was the country with the highest number of violations for drug residues in countries that export fish.

In reality, 84,000 lbs of swai fillets frozen that were imported in Vietnam and distributed throughout the US were pulled back due to not meeting US specifications to test the fish for residues of drugs as well as other toxins.

Furthermore, even if the fish is properly examined and the antibiotic or other drugs’ residues fall within acceptable levels, their continued consumption can cause resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Certain antibiotics are also used to treat human diseases. If they’re used too often and the bacteria develop resistance against them, this might cause people to be without effective treatments for certain ailments.

You May Be Eating Swai Fish Unknowingly:

It is possible to order swai fish in restaurants without being aware.

In a study conducted by Oceana, an international Oceana conservation organization the swai fish was among three varieties of fish that are most often substituted for fish that cost more.

Swai was advertised as 18 different kinds of fish, with the majority often mistakenly labeled as perch, grouper, or sole.

The mislabeling could happen in restaurants, supermarkets, and seafood processing facilities. Sometimes, this is an intentional fraud because the swai ingredient is cheap. Sometimes, it’s accidental.

Seafood typically travels a lengthy distance from where it’s caught up to the place you purchase it, which makes it difficult to pinpoint its origin.

For instance, there’s no simple method for restaurant owners to ensure that a bag of fish they bought is the way it claims.

Additionally, if a specific kind of fish isn’t identified for instance, if you’re ordering a fish-based sandwich from the restaurant and they don’t mention the kind of fish it is that it is, it might be the swai.

In an examination of fish-based dishes offered at 37 eateries in a southeastern US city, it was found that 67% of the dishes mentioned in the category of “fish” on the menu were made of swai.

A Sensible Approach to Swai and Better Alternatives:

If you are a fan of swai fish look for brands that are eco-certified by an independent group like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. These brands usually include the logo of the certification agency on the packaging.

Certification signifies efforts to decrease pollution that could cause climate change and impact water quality.

Also, avoid eating raw or uncooked swai. Cook the fish until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees (62.8) to eliminate harmful bacteria, for example, Vibrio.

If you decide to skip on swai fish, there are numerous alternatives. For white-fleshed species, you can consider catch-and-release US catfish Pacific cod (from the US and Canada) as well as haddock, flounder, or sole, and many more.

If you’re looking for fish with omega-3s, the top choices that don’t have excess mercury include wild-caught fish herring, sardines, herring anchovies Pacific oysters, freshwater trout, and oysters.

Also, try eating diverse types of fish instead of eating the same kind every day. This reduces the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals within a specific kind of fish.

The Bottom Line

Swai fish is mediocre in its nutritional profile and should be avoided.

It’s sourced from highly-packed fish farms, where antibiotics and chemicals are used in large quantities, which can lead to environmental pollution and health problems.

It’s often incorrectly labeled and is sold as more valuable fish. If you do eat it select a brand that has an eco-certificate.

It is generally recommended to consume a range of fish species. Alternatives to swai fish that are healthy include sole, haddock, salmon, and many more.

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