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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Another Stupid Facebook Meme

     Without getting into politics, somebody on Facebook shared one of the stupidest memes I have seen recently. It apparently came from March Against Monsanto, an international grassroots movement and protest against Monsanto corporation, a producer of genetically modified organism (GMOs) and Roundup, a glyphosate-based herbicide. The movement was founded by Tami Canal in response to the failure of a California ballot initiative which would have required labeling food products made from GMOs. Advocates support mandatory labeling laws for food made from GMOs. 

    I have to ask, besides a Facebook meme, what are the sources for these claims? As with most of these memes not a single source to support its claims was quoted. The first thing that jumped out at me when seeing this post was that looking at the picture of the ”tilapia” it seems obvious that the fish has skin and bones. 
     According to what I was able to discover, Tilapia is the market name of a variety of freshwater fish that are commercially farmed and consumed world-wide. As of 2016, it was the fourth most popular seafood eaten in the US. The USDA included tilapia in its 2017 list of best choices for seafood consumption by pregnant women and children. 
     Of course many people who post memes like this (and many who read them) are conspiracy theorist who believe there is a sinister plot by the government, big business and the media to poison and enslave us all. That may or may not be true, but if they are going to post something they should be able to support their claims. 
     There is no scientific evidence that I could find to support the claim that feeding farm-raised tilapia genetically engineered products makes them unsafe to eat. 
     It is true that farm-raised tilapia does not have the high omega content of other fish, but a Sanford Health nutrition researcher wrote that tilapia is still a healthy choice. 
     The claim that it contains toxic chemical compounds can also be true, but they sometimes turn up in wild seafood as well as other foods. At least one scientific report found that farmed fish are no more prone to contamination than wild-caught fish. 
     I guess it comes down to who are you going to believe? Stanford and Berkeley researchers or a Facebook meme? The answer depends on whether or not you are a conspiracy theorist and believe those universities are in on the plot. I suspect one reason we see so much of this nonsense being shared on Facebook is due to confirmation bias

List of popular conspiracy theories

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