12 Contaminated Fish You Should Never Eat

Fish – brain food or poisonous, allergy triggering nightmare?

There are plenty of fish in the sea, and that’s why it should come as no surprise that (eating) some of them is good for your health and others can be completely toxic. The important thing is to know which fish is which. There are certain fish that you should avoid eating at all costs.

The right fish are high in Omega 3 fatty acids – a nutrient that is essential for the functioning of your brain. Fish is also high in protein and extremely low in fat. But that doesn’t mean that you should eat every fish on offer.

What’s more is that because of all the pollution being pumped into our oceans, lots of fish is contaminated with fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals, and mercury. Low level mercury poisoning is such a threat to developing unborn babies that it’s advised that pregnant mothers avoid seafood entirely for the duration of their pregnancy.

Never eat these fish

Sword Fish

Swordfish is a popular dish at many seafood establishments. Unfortunately, it is also known for absorbing high levels of mercury from the environment it swims in. The Environmental Protection Agency has suggested that women and children never eat swordfish at all.

King Mackerel

This is another mercury poisoning candidate. Although American officials previously believed that this predatory fish is safe because it swims in deeper waters, it has been found that mercury levels are high in King Mackerel. Because mercury builds up in the body over time, and because this is a fish a that can live a long time and grow quite large, it has plenty of time to build up poisonous levels of mercury from industrial waste, which all eventually finds its way into the sea.

If the King Mackerel is smaller than 33 inches long, then it is probably not old enough to have built up a high mercury level yet – and may be safe to eat.


Tilapia is a fish which has become popular due to the ease with which it can be farmed. Unfortunately eating tilapia has been equated to being “As bad for your health as eating bacon”. According to the American Dietic Association, farmed fish like tilapia cause high inflammation in those that eat them regularly.

Tilapia contains very low levels of the healthy brain food Omega 3 fatty acids. It does, however, contain high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids – which are known for upping inflammatory conditions. This ratio of high Omega 6 and low Omega 3 oils causes inflammation which poses health risks for anyone with heart conditions, asthmatic symptoms, arthritis, allergies, or any other autoimmune disorders. To put it in perspective, bacon and doughnuts have lower levels of harmful long chain omega 6 than tilapia do.

American Eel

You may know this fish as silver eel or yellow eel. It is another popular dish, especially at sushi restaurants. Eel is another fish which grows slowly and lives long. Which means that it has plenty of time to absorb toxic contaminants like PCBs, mercury and flame retardants – all of which are found in scary high levels in the rivers where eels sometimes like to roam inland. This fish is so contaminated that even grown men are not supposed to eat more than one a year.

Imported Shrimp

To start off with – 25% of shrimp samples labelled “wild” were found to be farm raised. So it is safe to assume that most shrimp offered in restaurants is going to be imported farm shrimp and will fall under this category.

Aside from the fact that vast numbers of people are allergic to shell fish, or develop fatally dangerous allergies to them, shrimp have their own bad reputation. Shrimp sellers add a food additive called 4-hexylresorcinol to shrimp to make them maintain their colour. This additive has an estrogen like effect on the human body – causing higher incidents of breast cancer in women and a lower sperm count in men.

It was also discovered by AP investigators that shrimp in Thailand are peeled by slave labour. This shrimp manages to make its around the world to countries where the idea of slave labour is abhorrent. These same farms also use pesticides which are banned in first world countries.

One of these is a neurotoxic organophosphate called Malachite Green, which has been linked with tremors, memory problems and  ADHD.

Another nasty chemical in farmed shrimp is rotenone. This is used to kill other living things from the farm ponds before the shrimp are introduced. It is connected to Parkinson’s disease.


Tilefish are another long living predatory fish that have too much time to absorb mercury and other heavy metals from the water. There are many varieties, but the EPA does not distinguish which are the most highly contaminated.  Instead they advise that children, women, and especially pregnant women avoid eating it all together.

Orange Roughyfish

Also known in South Africa as the “deep sea perch”, is a fish that can live up to 150 years. An adult large enough for consumption will usually be about 40 years old. They are on the almost endangered species list – so you shouldn’t be eating them anyway. As with the other long living fish – they are able to accumulate huge amounts of mercury in their bodies.

Eating this fish puts you in very real danger of mercury poisoning. To make it an even less appetizing choice – they have low levels of omega 3 fatty acids in them. On all accounts, you should simply choose a different fish.

Blue Fish

The Blue fish is a sad case, because it should be really good for you. It is high in omega 3 fatty acids, high in protein and low in other fats. Unfortunately it is on the high contamination list. Blue fish have been found to be packed with deadly toxic chemicals from agricultural run-off. These include pesticides, PCBs and mercury.


This unfortunate fish is often the subject of “seafood fraud”(there really is such a thing). Many restaurants sell Pangasius as Grouper, probably without even knowing it. Other alternative fish that are sold as Grouper are King Mackerel (already mentioned on this list) and whitefin weakfish.

And if you do get genuine Grouper? It is another candidate for high mercury levels – and you should avoid it in any case.

Imported Striped Catfish (Basa / Swai / Tra Catfish)

As with Grouper, more often than not when you see this fish on the menu what you are usually getting is Pangasius (A fish raised in filthy conditions). Pangasius is known for being contaminated with vibriobacteria – a horrible microbe that is responsible for most shellfish poisoning.

The farming methods used to cultivate these fish in Vietnam are not only destroying the environment, they also have fish living in toxic waste and filth. The only way they can breed and survive is to be fed all kinds of antibiotics, chemical pesticides and even disinfectants.

These all get stored inside the body of the fish itself before it is shipped to your plate. The antibiotic alone have been banned by the World Health Organisation, because it not only feeds humans with antibiotics, it also encourages the development of super-strains of bacterial illnesses.

Farmed Salmon

Last but not least (we promised plenty of fish in the sea) is farmed salmon. We saved the salmon for last because it is one of the worst, and most popular, fish on the menu. If you see the words “Atlantic Salmon” it is probably farmed. This fish is farmed in an environment that leaves it riddled with pesticides, parasites, bacteria and even feces.

Farmed salmon is known for upping inflammation in consumers. It has also been found to have less and less Omega 3 fatty acids in it year after year. This is because they are not being fed their natural diet.

Farmed salmon was tested by the University of New York, who found that it has dioxin levels which are eleven times higher than in wild salmon. Dioxin is a chemical pollutant which is stored in your (and the fishes) fat cells. It can cause cancer, immune system issues and organ damage.

What’s more is that farmed salmon have been linked with increased metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Other substances commonly found in farmed salmon include PCBs and organochlorine pesticides.

To protect yourself from detrimental effects of these fish, go to the next page and find out how you can boost your immune system –


About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.

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48 responses to “12 Contaminated Fish You Should Never Eat”

  1. Denise Espinosa Avatar
    Denise Espinosa

    Fortunately, I’m not much a fish eater. Have never eaten any on your list though. Thank God! Thanks for the info.

  2. Brenda Avatar

    Everyone needs this book.

  3. marcia kutz Avatar
    marcia kutz

    Subscribe me on your sight!
    I accidentally unsuscribed me,
    my mistake!

  4. Beatrix moran Avatar
    Beatrix moran

    What canned salmon?

    1. Beatrix moran Avatar
      Beatrix moran

      Whitneys red salmon wild Alaska sockeye

    2. Adriana Avatar

      Avoid all Atlantic and farmed salmon. Get wild catch, either fresh or canned (contains more salt).

  5. Beatrix moran Avatar
    Beatrix moran

    Still looking for reply

    1. Ann Avatar

      Beatrix, canned salmon is most generally wild caught. Look for Red Sockeye, which is always wild caught. Be sure the label reads Alaska wild caught. I believe most is, but be sure, as these days, so many companies are jumping on the band wagon. We’ve eaten and stocked up on canned salmon for years, as it’s good to have a supply if something happens. The only thing I don’t like about canned is the concern of BPA.

      We are fortunate in our area to get fresh frozen wild caught salmon from a couple who fishes the Bristol Bay area in Alaskan waters every July and stock several lbs. in the freezer.

      Hope this helps……….

  6. Judy Avatar

    So, where should Salmon come from to be safe?

    1. Ann Avatar


      Alaska. Atlantic salmon is farmed and unhealthy. Also, when purchasing from markets, be careful, as a lot of salmon is artificially dyed with red to make it more appealing. So Sad!


    Geez, what the heck are we supposed to eat anymore? Just a rhetorical, no answer necessary.

  8. Elizabeth Avatar

    We avoid the farmed salmon. The one that is available in our area and we purchase is the frozen Alaskan wild sockeye salmon .

  9. #seafoodlover Avatar

    The majority of contaminated seafood you mentioned are my favorites and are easy to purchase in local markets. If I am to heed your list, my options are down to one or two i.e. red snapper (with tons of tiny bones) and scallops. Will you provide a list of fish that is on your good choice list that is high in Omega 3 and of course without the tiny bones?

  10. Jack Avatar

    Hi i have learned allt from you. Sadly Im a big Fish eater and THE Fisher i eat i usually boil. Could you please tell me what Fish i Could eat? Or is it safer to just Quit eating it entirely? . I usually eat Fish for the protein, Omega-3, A vitamine And for the taste. I would be very greatful and thankful. For the answer. Than you in advance 🙂

  11. Jack Avatar

    Hi i have learned a lot from you. Sadly Im a big Fish eater and THE Fisher i eat i usually boil. Could you please tell me what Fish i Could eat? Or is it safer to just Quit eating it entirely? . I usually eat Fish for the protein, Omega-3, A vitamine And for the taste. I would be very greatful and thankful for the answer. Thank you in advance ?

  12. Csr Avatar

    How about flounder, macarel,sharks, crabs are they high in omega 3 how about salmon in can are they safe to eat

  13. Jim Avatar

    If the fish being sold isn’t what it is suppose to be, then isn’t that considered false advertisement? Can an establishment/restarunt/wholeseller, be in serious trouble for false statements or at least be penalized? People pay high dollar for certain fish that is considered wild caught. I would not want to pay high dollar for crap with toxins and think it’s the best of the best and be fooled.

  14. Pam Avatar

    If I eat any fish it is wild caught Cod it also seems to be reasonably priced compared to other fish.

  15. Kamau Avatar

    This is very disappointing being that many of the fish mentioned are primary a major part of my diet, due to allergies and the fact that I don’t eat meat. I would be great, if you provide a list of fish high in Omega 3 safe to eat.

  16. Elizabeth Avatar

    Definitely know the source of the fish your purchasing and avoid countries that lack regulations. You want to know that the producer has taken great care to produce the fish in an unspoiled environment that enables the fish to achieve its full potential.

  17. Donna Avatar

    How about fish from the pacific, that may have been exposed to radio activity?

  18. Marvin L. Zinn Avatar
    Marvin L. Zinn

    I certainly agree! A lot of hospital patients and prescribed drug users are in that condition because of ignoring or ignorant of this proven information.

  19. Ann Avatar

    Beware that a LOT of fish, salmon and other fish are being not only farmed in unhealthy, questionable conditions, but being sent to China for packaging and then sent back. And a lot of it also ‘originates’ in China where the water is contaminated.

  20. Siata Avatar

    Thanks for the valid information regarding our health, because our health matters. Could you advise what if fish are got from fresh water are they also poisonous?

  21. Jean Avatar

    Didn’t see a response to the question “what about canned Salmon” is it ok to eat?

  22. Debra Avatar

    I eat wild caught salmon it comes frozen is that safe?

  23. Ray Avatar

    What fish or seafood can I eat? Seems like its safer to eat processed foods!

  24. Beverly Avatar

    What fish do you recommend?

  25. Shirley Rubin Avatar
    Shirley Rubin

    It would be helpful to learn what fish can be eaten safely.

  26. William moskowitz Avatar
    William moskowitz

    I would like to know which fish to buy, and what environments are the healthiest? The video didn’t open up.
    Bill Moskowitz

  27. Ilene Avatar

    Really, please give alternatives to this information

  28. Jackie Allison Avatar
    Jackie Allison

    Most of the heavily contaminated fish, sold in America, are raised on farms in China and other Asian countries. Some fish farms have cages of chickens suspended over the ponds, when the chickens defecate, it drops through the suspended wire cages and helps to feed the fish – fish being sold to Americans and other countries. I recently read where they feed pig feces to farmed fish and it can contain salmonella, besides other toxic chemicals. China has sated that it cannot health inspect all of the food companies exporting food to the U.S. and our inspectors aren’t allowed in China’s plants. Why does the FDA allow this – NAFTA

    Thank you, for this great article.

  29. Jackie Allison Avatar
    Jackie Allison

    I forgot to mention, you can perform a search and image search: china fish farms

    I remember growing up with Starkist Tuna and then one day it not only looked odd, it tasted terrible and in little slivers of meat – it is now owned by a Korean company and Charley is now a big part of that tuna.


    Thank you Emma D. for helping us to protect our health.

  30. ED LANNI Avatar


  31. Becky Avatar

    Thank you for the info on contaminated fish, but you should also research and share where to buy good, wild caught fish.

  32. Florence Gomez Avatar
    Florence Gomez

    Where can I buy good fresh wild cought salmon in London
    and how would it be labeled.
    Or is this noot available in London

  33. John Avatar

    All Atlantic Salmon is farm raised. Pacific or Alaskan salmon is not so look for Pacific, Alaskan or wild caught before buying.
    Everyone should read the book by Larry Olmsted, “Real Food Fake Food” ! It is well researched and documented and totally supports what Emma D. has posted regarding fish and well as many other foods you think you’re eating and drinking but are not!

  34. Kaz Avatar

    If tilapia were only as “bad” as good bacon I’d eat it!!!

  35. Katie Avatar

    My favorite is the KETA Salmon from the Icy Straights w-a-y up in the Yukon Territory. About as far north as you can get without being in the Arctic Circle! It is the only industry for the people living there, so they practice responsibly. You can buy the entire filet for about $12.00. Next in the line-up for our house is vacuum packed Tuna or Salmon. We haven’t touched anything out of the Atlantic in many years.

  36. Paul Avatar

    Why is tuna not mentioned?

  37. Michelle Warne Avatar
    Michelle Warne

    I do hate any fish or shrimp that has been farmed. I will not eat anything that comes from China either (this is advised by a man with a PHD that lived in China for 3 years). He said their handling of the fish in China is nothing but filth. I have tested all the shrimp in my town, and found only one place I can get the ‘real shrimp’.

  38. Ned Avatar

    I eat Tasmanian salmon from the Atlantic oceon. Said to be safe.

  39. Cedar Avatar

    Tasmanian salmon is not from the Atlantic ocean, it is farmed at Salmon Ponds (just past New Norfolk on the way to Mount Field) and other places. I wouldn’t eat farmed salmon because you really don’t know what you are getting – maybe a cocktail of antibiotics and disinfectants.

  40. Cedar Avatar

    If we didn’t have money what a different world it would be! Whoever said that money is the root of all evil had it right.

  41. midget Avatar

    I have read somewhere that the FDA has not been expanded as progresses are made and has basically still operating under most standards of the 1950. If this is true then how do we really know our food is basically safe. But it appears that we still have better standards then most foreign countries.

  42. John Mathew Avatar
    John Mathew

    Great Information. I am fish lover. thanks for sharing this

  43. Julio Minchaca Avatar
    Julio Minchaca

    Is there really plenty of fish in the sea?? From what I’ve read and documentaries I’ve seen the populations of fish are actually in trouble due to our over fishing, acidification, and climate change, fish aren’t able to reproduce at the same speed they are being taken

  44. Sandra Avatar

    what about tuna?/ what kind of tuna and where can we get safely and organic?? thanks a lot for the info!

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