I’m not a food nut. Organic/non-organic matters not. Though moderately careful about fat intake, I eat most anything, providing I like it. However, eating dangerous food is another story, which this brief article will address. I thought it worthy to share with my friends and fans.

     Next time you’re at a seafood restaurant where you are tempted to order a fish sandwich, or fish and chips (usually fried) ask the server what kind of fish that is. If they say Cod, Mahi or Pollock, enjoy your meal. If they say Basa, take a pass. Basa has become a popular white fish which restaurants substitute as cheaper meat than free-caught ocean fishes. What the restaurant doesn’t tell you is that Basa is a bottom-dwelling catfish variety farmed in the Mekong Delta regions of Viet Nam, frozen and shipped at low prices to the U.S.

     The Mekong Delta is known to be dangerously polluted. Fish farms are created with waters from the delta. This fish is now banned in three states; Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The Vancouver Aquarian Ocean Wise Program, via their web site, recommends that people avoid the Basa fish as it is associated with disease outbreaks and infection of wild Basa populations.

     Here’s one American that shot a video in Viet Nam at one of their Basa fish farms.  It’s a bit long, but you’ll get the idea.

Click here: ? Vietnam Basa fish farm – YouTube

     Here’s a part of Wikipedia’s carefully worded report on Basa:

 Several environmental organizations concerned with marine ecosystems have raised concerns about basa. OceanWise, an environmental organization associated has flagged farmed basa for its potential pollution of ecosystems and interference with wild species. It writes, “Open cage farming in Southeast Asia is associated with disease transfer to wild basa. There are also concerns about feed quality, farm operating standards and the biological impact of using wild stock for culturing.”  It as also commonly heard that these fish are being fed human excretory products in poor countries.

     You’re welcome to research this further and make your own choices. As for me, I’ll choose wild-caught fish from the very oceans that surround my own country.

    The key is:  Don’t be afraid to ask.

     Click here: Basa fish – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Click here: BASA FISH – HEALTH ADVISORY – Google Groups


  1. Fran of 57 October 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I also will NOT buy anything that is farm raised. As MOST of it is raised in sewage type water and filled w/antibiotics.

    I ONLY buy wild caught. And from the U.S. or Canada . . .

    I watch the sales at Publix and Whole Foods for the wild caught fish and that’s the ONLY kind I buy to eat at home . . because of all the things that are happening w/imported foods we don’t go out to eat so much any more.

    But, there’s enuf variety at the above stores so you can have 4+ fish meals a week and not duplicate.

  2. Howard Bernbaum PE October 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Not a problem in this house. We don’t often order fish when we eat out. However, when we do, the order usually is for the fish by name such as lemon butter broiled Mahi Mahi or stuffed broiled Flounder. Never fry whateveryougot.

    Good advice Marshall, thank you.

  3. Bill Solen October 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I eat catfish from Lake Okeechobee or Mahi, nothing else.

  4. Robert Butler October 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Dear Mr. Frank,

    Your article regarding the “BASA” was very enlightening. Thank you for this information. I will never eat fish again without asking.

    Additionally, you may want to begin considering the fact that we are now inundated with pollution through direct emission of nuclear radiation into the atmosphere, which travels on tradewinds and the jet streams, the transmission of radioactive water being dumped at the rate of hundreds, if not thousands of Tons of contaminated water from Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear reactors, and contaminated livestock of all descriptions. The food chain should be carefully scrutinized in all cases before consumption of anything. The tests by independent researchers and journalists have shown that background radiation levels are 4 to 5 times historical norms in the United States, and some local seawater samples are over 1000% normal levels. The foods grown in the U.S. and soils are contaminating our livestock and produce harvested in the U.S. On top of this, the fish caught in the Pacific are contaminated with these radio nuclides, e.g. Cesium, Iodines, and other dangerous radioactive isotopes.

    I fully realize this information is hardly broached by the MSM and EPA outlets. They are not being forthcoming. The EPA has stopped monitoring this dangerous hazard and blocking dissemination of these alarming statistics from reaching the public. Think about that.

    For more information, there are numerous sites to visit, among which would be firstly

    Here’s a link to arecent article citing changes to EPA standards to mitigate the perceived hazard we are exposed to. In view of the dangers, reasons for standards being relaxed is suspicious, if not criminally negligent on the part of a government agency. We are the victims!


    I hope the above information is helpful.

  5. millicent gustafson October 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    Since they change the name and you really don’t know what you are getting I think it best not to order fish in a restaurant?????????

  6. Eileen October 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    Marshall, this info certainly will make me think twice about ordering McD’s fish fillet sandwich!

  7. Mackie October 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Thank you for the alert Captain Frank, I’ll pass it on to friends and family.

  8. Ron Fischer October 26, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    As my own daddy once told me Marshall, “it’s what you don’t know that kills ya”.

    I have some first hand experience with food native to Vietnam. If it came from Vietnam, I’ll gladly pass – thanks to the memories!

    I eat Salmon, Halibut and Trout – That I catch!

  9. Frank M. October 26, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    The same warnings should be applied to shrimp that is imported from China, Indonesia, The Phillipines and Vietnam. The conditions for these farm raised crustaceans are just as filthy or even worse than those in which the basa is raised. I have stopped eating shrimp at any restaurant and check every purchase made in the grocery stores. I have taken to netting my own shrimp during the season and freezing it for future meals. Everything imported now is suspect and I will not buy anything farmed in Mexico. or China.

  10. Lee Martines October 26, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    I have mixed feelings about this information since I have been buying and preparing frozen Basa for about 15 years without any ill effects. Other names for this species of fish are Pangasius and Swai. It is sold at WalMart, Publix, Winn-Dixie and Aldi. There appears to be a wide swing in the quality of fish farms in which these fish are raised. Some have very stringent quality procedures while others are very lacking. It only makes sense that those producing inferior products don’t stay in business very long. I would suspect that any suppliers to major U.S. grocery companies would be extremely diligent to guarantee the quality and safety of their product.

    If you are the type of person that would like to eliminate any possibilty of poor food quality, then you also need to stay away from any shrimp that are not wild caught in America; swordfish due to the possibility of mercury poisoning; farm raised catfish and salmon; tilapia; oysters; and any large reef fish that may be carriers of ciguatera.

    Oh, also stay away from chicken, duck, beef, pork, lamb and any other product that is probably injected or fed hormones or steroids. Then there is milk and all the vegetables and fruits that are genetically modified for better yield, size, taste, or speedy growth.

    I suppose all that’s left is water, but then of course it would have to be ridiculously priced bottled water, unless you are worried about the possible transfer of carcinogens from the plastic bottle!

  11. freewoman October 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Thank you for this alert. Just last week was tempted into buying several cans of whole oysters in water, “farm raised Product of Korea” at a very decent price. After reading your article, checked the product out on the net and came up with

    “Geisha Recall, Korean Oysters 5-31-12
    There is a voluntary recall of 12/8oz Geisha boiled oysters”

    There goes my oyster stew!

  12. Wayne October 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Not terribly impressed.. have eaten Basa and it’s cousin Swai for years and enjoyed it. I travel a good deal and can’t honestly say that farming conditions for Salmon, Talapia and other fish in the US are any worse than they are for Basa or Swai in the Mekong Delta. I think we as US residents are a bit ethnocentric.. but hey… I get my medical care out of the US as well. We are a self-important group I fear.

  13. JKR October 28, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    I have a friend here that is a biologist who maintains many private lakes, phosphate pits, etc., raises talipia and sells them to many markets throught out the state. He also is a consultant called on to clean up lakes, etc.

    I spoke with him about the Basa. He said that generally, if the fish are healthy then they are safe to eat. He said that he has had Basa for meals and that they are delicious fish. He has no problem with eating them.

    Regardless, I am cautious and read labels prior to buying nearly anything that we purchase. I don’t buy anything from Asia and the only store-bought fish that I eat is Salmon. I get it at Sam’s Club and purchase the brand that is wild caught Alaskan salmon.

  14. Lee Martines October 29, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    To add to this blog, I just ran across this article which lists items that we commonly eat in America, some of which are actually banned in other countries.

  15. marvin wiley October 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    If you are familiar with fish, I’ve been fishing since 5 years old. Old Pier #5, now a shopping mall: The holy grail was to not buy a fish that did not had the head still attached. If you know your fish that’s one thing, but even with that you learn to tell how fresh the fish is by the clarity and texture on the eye.

    Another mounting problem is small, tiny fish that eat microscopic organisms that eat the microscopic plastics that have been reduce to their bite size. Then the children’s story begins….big fish eats small fish. x its growth/size, winds up with a toxicity that can make some folk sick with a single dinner.. Through out the Florida Everglades warnings started being posted as far back as the 1960s: Pregnant women do not eat; everyone else eat as little as possible. That was caused primarily from the run off of fertilizer from the 1000s of acres of sugar cane. Mercury is the villain in this case.

    Lee lays it out quite well.

  16. Jeffrey November 1, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    Another fish from mekon Delta is the Swai fish…Comes from the same waters and is also a catfish! Sells for very cheap at Wal Mart.