Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Why you should not eat Basa fish

Basa fish is a preferred fish choice for many reasons. But, recent reports say Basa fish is infested with unsafe, cancer–causing chemicals.

Executive Summary

Vietnamese Basa fish has become popular in the last decade. It has a good appearance and better yield. It is cheap and available year-round.

However, reports are showing it contains many carcinogenic chemicals. It may also have mercury contamination.

Don’t eat Basa fish, if you are not sure about the source of the fish.

Vietnamese Basa fish has been popular since 2008 in India. But is it safe to consume it?

Its main attractions are its appearance and a better yield (the amount of meat obtained after deboning). It is available year-round and quite cheap compared to local fish varieties. It does not give a typical fishy smell while cooking or as a cooked entrée. So in buffets, where vegetarian and non–vegetarian patrons mingle, serving it has become common.

Reports are emerging now say it is infested with unsafe chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic in nature. Read: Why you should not order the Basa fish.

Salient points

In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the import of Vietnamese Basa fish into the USA.

In 2005, the Consumer Association of Canada expressed concerns over fish imported from Vietnam, as lab tests showed the presence of a banned form of fungicide in the fish.

Big hotels in India have completely stopped serving Basa.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has said that Basa runs the risk of mercury contamination.

In conclusion

It is best to avoid eating Basa fish at a restaurant, especially if you are not sure about the source of the fish, or you doubt the hygiene and safety standards of the place.

First published on: 12th August 2018
Image credit: stockking on Freepik
Last Updated on: 5th June 2023


  1. I was just given some frozen basa steak fillets. On the bag it reads Product of Vietnam. Prepared for Premier Marine Canada. Vaughan, Ontario L4H3M3. It also says This product has not met the ASC’s global standard for responsibly farmed sea food. I have heard stories about it not being safe to eat. If it isn’t why would this company sell it especially with the warning on the bag. I hope you can enlighten me as to if it is okay to eat. Thankyou for your help.

    • I don’t know about this specific brand. But the warning on your packet, in general, indicates that the fish may not have been farmed responsibly. That is, probably the environmental impact is too high or the communities involved in farming the fish may not have been adequately cared for.

      As such, I doubt that eating this packet of fish itself will be unhygienic. But if you are concerned about the environmental or social issues associated with the same, you may not wish to eat.

  2. Citing articles from 15+ years ago, when no such reports or concerns have been raised in the meantime? Smells fishy to me


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Latest Articles