November 30, 2007 —
The National Organics Standards Board recently met to decide whether farmed fish can qualify for the government's organic label. For many proponents of organic food, the debate provides another example of the watering down of both the concept and labeling of 'organic' food.
Inconsistent standards for labeling can create an eneven playing field. Foreign farm fish are certified 'organic' in their home countries and thus carry the label into America’s stores. The 'organic' label, if applied to domestic farm fish, could therefore protect domestic farmers.
For some consumers, the question centers on how the fish are raised and what they are fed. If farmers are open about the conditions and food, farm fish may be healthier and safer, especially considering all the toxins dumped into the world's water.
But what's good for the consumer might be bad for the environment. Pollution from fish farms pose threats to wild stocks, and the risk of disease make farm fish an inherently 'non-organic' industry. Food and Water Watch, an activist group, believes that since fish farming is not sustainable, it should never be certified as organic.