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Definition of 'organic fish' is murky

Tilapia swimming in a saline water pond

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: There's a public meeting in Washington today about fish. Specifically whether certain fish can be labeled organic. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


Nancy Marshall Genzer: The National Organic Standards Board will be looking into is whether farm-raised fish that are fed ground-up wild fish can be labeled organic.

Urvashi Rangan of Consumers Union says no, because of what's in the wild fish.

Urvashi Rangan: It can contain Mercury and PCBs. That will then contaminate the fish that feed on it.

Kona Bluewater Fish Farms President Neil Anthony Sims says he should be allowed to cash in on the organic food wave. His fish do eat ground-up wild fish, but 50 percent of their diet comes from agricultural products.

Sims would love to make them vegetarians, but that would take expensive research and he wants an incentive.

Neil Anthony Sims: That incentive is organic labeling. That is the market driver.

One thing everyone agrees on: Fish that are natural vegetarians -- like tilapia -- can be labeled organic. Environmentalists say carnivores are a different kettle of fish.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer, for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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