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Pangasius: all facts at a glance

November 15, 2018 | News, Sustainability | No Comments

No fish in the world has been condemned so massively as pangasius in recent years. Yet this fish is also labeled as ‘wonderfish’. What about these contrasting statements? We did research.

Development of (Vietnamense) pangasius

Between 2000 and 2010 demand for pangasius in Europe and the US started to increase enormously. This resulted in more and more pangasius being farmed in Vietnam to meet the European and US demand. But this growth was accompanied by many negative statements about pangasius. The fish was said to be ‘full of poison’, not sustainable and even dangerous for your health. But is this true?

Is pangasius really full of poison?

Wageningen University has researched pangasius to get to know if this fish contains toxins. They also examined rejected pangasius. Their toxicological research showed that even the rejected pangasius contains barely any pesticides or chemicals. The quantities are so low that an adult could eat lifelong between 3.4 and 166 kg of the rejected pangasius per day without any negative effects. Therefore, you can conclude that the pangasius available in supermarkets can certainly not be harmful for your health.

How sustainable is pangasius?

Nowadays most pangasius is certified with the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) quality mark. In the Netherlands, this is even 100%. The ASC quality mark gives consumers the guarantee that they buy fish that is farmed with care for nature and the social environment. This quality mark has been established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). The process to get the quality mark takes months for farmers and factories. When they have obtained the certification they are regularly checked. Also, in terms of CO2 emission percentages, it seems to be more sustainable to eat farmed fish and fish imported in large quantities by boat that fish caught closer by trawls and transported in polluting trucks.

So what about the negative claims?

The results of our research seem pretty positive. So where do all the negative claims about pangasius come from? To begin with, most of these negative claims in the media do not appear to be supported by scientific evidence. Besides, many of the claims in the media come from fish farmers and other parties involved in Western countries because competition from Vietnam became very fierce.

As a consumer it is important to have independent information in order to form a good opinion about products. Because the internet had been flooded with negative claims about pangasius (which appear to be incorrect), this is very difficult for consumers in this case.

Nothing wrong with pangasius

Our conclusion based on facts and scientific research is that there is nothing wrong with pangasius. What is your opinion about pangasius? Share it with us in a comment below.