One of the things that I've repeatedly written about on this blog was how we can help the U.S. economy by purchasing items that were Made in America. I've been following ABC's Made in America series from the beginning and it seems to be making a real positive difference.
Since I see most everything through food tinted lenses, I think it's often easier to find American made products, when those products are food. We may not tend to think of food as a product, but it is. Whether cooked at a restaurant and served, processed in a facility and bought in a store or grown from seed and sold at a farmers market, food is big business.
A big thing that I learned about attending Seafood Expo North America (SENA) and doing research for my blog post entries for the contest is that Aquaculture is huge. By the way, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is sponsoring the iPura Tweet & Blogfest. Here's a bit more about GAA from their website.
The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. GAA recognizes that aquaculture is the only sustainable means of increasing seafood supply to meet the food needs of the world's growing population.What is aquaculture? Glad you asked! Most of us are familiar with the term agriculture, where animals are raised for food and fibers and the land is farmed with vegetables grown from seed.
Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards, GAA has become the leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood.
The culture part of both words has to do with cultivation and farming. Agri deals with land and Aqua deals with water. Aquaculture is farming the water and raising seafood.
A fish2fork article says "[f]armed fish and shellfish production is now so high that it has matched or overtaken catches in the wild that are sold for human consumption." We are undergoing "a pardigm shift in food production" according to fish2fork. “The last time it happened it was on land and it took place 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic when hunter gatherers settled down and started farming.”
Many of us have been wary of eating farmed seafood, myself included. But that seems to be the future of seafood, so I think we have to get used to it. Also, from what I've been reading over the past few days, farmed seafood is much safer than it once was.
Especially if you make sure that you're eating farmed seafood from the United States. The aquaculture practices of many countries are not very safe. A Food & Wine article discusses the good news with sustainable seafood when you buy American.
The video above that I took at SENA talks about U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish and how it is such a big industry. It's sustainable and rated Best Choice, by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.
I hope you take a couple of minutes to watch the video, but if not, one of the most interesting things that I learned was that you should always be able to find out what country your seafood comes from. There should be a paper tent on your restaurant table or you can ask your server. Your grocery store should have the same information.
The end of last year brought changes to the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations, which should be fully implemented at this point. However, according to a recent Food Safety News article, there is pending litigation. Several meat related groups have filed a lawsuit to repeal COOL. Only time will tell.
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Disclosure: I received press credentials for complimentary admission to SENA.
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