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Artificial Coloring in Fish

Canthoxanthine feed additives given to farmed fish may be linked to a condition in consumers called gold dust retinopathy.

December 14, 2009 |
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Sources Cited



The contaminants I’ve been talking about are just from how polluted our planet has become; it’s not like they’re deliberately adding them to the fish. But fish farmers do feed about two dozen human antibiotics to their fish to help keep them alive in such stressful, overcrowded environments. They also had to figure out a way to make grayish fish flesh look pink, which it is naturally when pulled out of the ocean. So the aquaculture industry feeds farmed fish artificial coloring.
This is from the drug company Roche. Fish farmers get to pick out the color they want to dye their flesh like paint chips. The human health consequences? You can get a rare condition called gold dust retinopathy, as the coloring potentially crystallizes in the back of your eyeball, which can potentially lead to problems down the road.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on fish and artificial coloring. Also, there are 1,449 other subjectscovered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For more context, please refer to the following associated blog post: Should We Avoid Titanium Dioxide

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on fish and artificial coloring. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Kirsten Elaine Swanson Hoyt

    Where can I get more information about this?

  • Shannon Watley

    I have a patient that has an ostomy and essentially no intestines left after years of surgeries and stomal hernias and is now unable to heal an abcess near the stoma. I’m trying to encourage her on a plant based diet, but she tells me she can’t eat many veggies or fruit due to the fiber and it causes pain, blockages, fills up the bag and creates problems for her to maintain that properly. Brown rice is out due to the hulls and she basically eat very western food b/c it is so devoid of anything healthy she can handle it. I have her taking Juice Plus+ and she is getting good results regarding energy and her hair growing back in thicker and she feels she’s able to absorb nutrition from that. How can a person in her situation go plant based and how do I best direct her to understand or read about acidity/alkalinity concerns etc.

  • Bill

    Astaxanthin is the pigment used. Its the same natural pigment found in shrimp, lobster, crab, krill, and wild salmon flesh. You can buy it at vitamin shops in pill form; it’s a powerful antioxidant and relatively expensive. I see no problem (and a number of benefits) with this unless, like any natural substance, you consume way tto much.

  • williamtell

    Astaxanthin pigment in farmed salmon is the same pigment in wild salmon. As it turns out its a highly desirable antioxidant. You can buy it at health food stores and pharmacies (its expensive). Or you can eat any type of salmon.