The Omega 6 levels in tilapia have caused some nutritionists to raise their eyebrows at the light, white succulent fish that has become a staple at American’s tables over a short period of time.

Of course Omega 3 fatty acids are good for you, and tilapia has them.  But it also has Omega 6 fatty acids, and some nutritionists believe that has inflammatory implications.  Should you have an inflammation in your body, perhaps a food high in Omega 6 is not the best choice.

However a nutritionist wrote that tilapia is on par with bacon, and the world shook.

Now that calmer minds have prevailed, Dr. Floyd Chilton, the professor of physiology and pharmacology who lifted the red flag said he was grossly misunderstood and did not mean to imply that there was anything bad about talapia.

Good.  It’s a nice fish.                                               

Though native to Africa originally, its popularity spread so quickly and thoroughly in the global market that its native waters were quickly fished out, and talapia farms started springing up everywhere.  There are 100 nations that produce farmed talapia, some better than others.

China provides 40% of the world’s talapia, and 40% of that is exported to America.  Their sanitation and fish food supplies left much to be desired, Seafood Watch labeled Chinese-farmed talapia “AVOID.”   Within two years they cleaned up most of the farms and are now rated “Good Alternative.”

The best talapia is grown in America, Ecuador, and Canada, rated “Best Choice” by Seafood Watch.

How do you know if the talapia you are buying is the good stuff?  You need to become a knowledgeable consumer.

“It takes work.  You’ve got to read, and you’ve got to get out there and talk.  Talk to the people who are selling you the fish,” advices Mike Picchietti, president of Americas Tilapia Alliance.  “Make sure they know about the fish.  Cause if they don’t know about the fish maybe you should go somewhere where they do know about the fish.”

Since 2005 the FDA has required seafood producers to distinguish their products with Country Of Original Labels (COOL).  Whole fish sold in grocery stores should include the COOL and whether the fish was farmed or caught wild.  Not all stores do it, though, so if you have concerns, educate yourself.