4. Swai fish
Swai fish is popping up as a trendy menu item all over the country, but I’m begging you, don’t be tricked. This “river catfish” is most often raised in Vietnamese ponds with truly abysmal track records. Also called tra, basa, striped pangasius and sutchi, this fish only costs about $2 a pound but comes with a hefty price tag.
A 2016 study found 70 to 80 percent of pangasius samples were contaminated by Vibriobacteria — the microbes behind most cases of shellfish poisoning. In August 2016, the U.S. reportedly turned away 40,000 pounds of swai due to contamination issues. This includes fish testing positive for malachite green, a carcinogenic veterinary drug used to treat sick fish.
Swai is also implicated in widespread seafood fraud. In 2015, a Virginia seafood importer was sentenced to prison for importing $15.5 million worth of pangasius “catfish” and marketing it as sole, grouper, flounder, snakehead and other fish.