It’s generally imported indigenous Vietnam and also has become much more widely accessible and renowned in the us over the past pair of decades.

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However, many civilization who eat swai may not be conscious of comes to surrounding its production on crowded fish farms.

This post gives girlfriend the facts about swai fish, helping you decide if you have to eat or stop it.

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Swai is a white-fleshed, moist fish that has actually a certain texture and neutral flavor. Therefore, it conveniently takes on the smell of other ingredients (1).

According come the US nationwide Oceanic and also Atmospheric administration (NOAA), swai ranks as the 6th most popular fish in the nation (2).

It’s aboriginal to Asia’s Mekong River. However, swai accessible to consumer is most typically produced on fish farms in Vietnam (1).

In fact, swai production in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam is one of the biggest freshwater fish agriculture industries worldwide (3).

Previously, swai imported right into the united state was called asian catfish. In 2003, the united state Food and Drug administration (FDA) happen a law that just fish in the Ictaluridae family, which has American catfish however not swai, can be labeled or advertised as catfish (4).

Swai is native a separate but related family called Pangasiidae, and the clinical name because that it is Pangasius hypophthalmus.

Other names for swai and comparable species space panga, pangasius, sutchi, cream dory, striped catfish, Vietnamese catfish, tra, basa and also — despite it’s no a shark — iridescent shark and Siamese shark.


Swai is a white-fleshed, neutral-flavored fish frequently imported indigenous Vietnamese fish farms. When called oriental catfish, US regulations no much longer permit this name to it is in used. American catfish is from a different family 보다 swai, yet they are related.

Nutritional Value

Eating fish is generally urged as it gives lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fat.

The protein content of swai is average compared to other common fish, yet it supplies very small omega-3 fat (1, 5).

A 4-ounce (113-gram) offer of uncooked swai has (5, 6, 7, 8):

Calories: 70Protein: 15 gramsFat: 1.5 gramsOmega-3 fat: 11 mgCholesterol: 45 gramsCarbs: 0 gramsSodium: 350 mgNiacin: 14% that the Reference everyday Intake (RDI)Vitamin B12: 19% the the RDISelenium: 26% that the RDI

For comparison, the exact same serving the salmon package 24 grams of protein and also 1,200–2,400 mg of omega-3 fat, while American catfish contains 15 grams the protein and also 100–250 mg the omega-3 fat in 4 ounces (113 grams) (9, 10, 11).

The sodium in swai may be greater or reduced than shown above based on exactly how much sodium tripolyphosphate, one additive to maintain moisture, is used during processing (1).

Swai is great source of selenium and also a good source of niacin and also vitamin B12. However, quantities can vary based upon what the fish is fed (5, 8).

Swai nothing have specifically healthy diets. They’re generally fed rice bran, soy, canola and fish by-products. The soy and canola assets are typically genetically modified, i beg your pardon is a controversial practice (1, 3, 12).


Swai is middle in nutritional value, providing a kind amount of protein yet very tiny omega-3 fat. Its key vitamin and also mineral contributions space selenium, niacin and vitamin B12. Use of one additive to store swai moist increases its salt content.

The result of swai fish ranches on the ecosystem is a major concern (13).

The Monterey bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program lists swai as a fish that should be avoided, as some swai fish farms generate waste products that are illegally dumped into rivers (3).

The improper handle of wastewater is specifically concerning because swai fish farms use a the majority of chemical agents, including disinfectants, anti-parasitic drugs and also antibiotics.

Mercury air pollution is an additional consideration. Some studies have discovered acceptable level of mercury in swai native Vietnam and other southeastern and also southern locations of Asia (14, 15, 16).

However, other research has displayed mercury levels in swai that are over the people Health organization’s recommended border in 50% that the samples experiment (17).

These challenges suggest the require for much better water high quality on swai fish farms and far better quality manage checks the the fish throughout the import process.


The Monterey just Aquarium’s Seafood Watch regime advises avoiding swai since many chemical agents are used on the fish farms and also can pollute adjacent water. Some, but not all, analyses imply swai may have high mercury levels together well.

When swai and also other fish room grown on overfilled fish farms, the risk of infectious diseases in the fish increases.

In one study, 70–80% that swai samples exported to Poland, Germany and Ukraine were contaminated with Vibrio bacteria, a microbe commonly involved in shellfish food poisoning in world (15).

To combat bacter infections, swai are frequently regularly offered antibiotics and also other drugs. However, there room drawbacks. Residues of antibiotics might remain in the fish, and the drugs can obtain into surrounding waterways (18).

In a study of imported seafood, swai and also other asian seafood most generally exceeded drug residue limits. Vietnam had actually the greatest number of drug residue violations among countries that export fish (19).

In fact, 84,000 pounds of frozen swai fish fillets imported from Vietnam and also distributed in the united state were recalled as result of failure to satisfy US demands to test the fish for medicine residues and also other contaminants (20).

Additionally, even if fish is appropriately inspected and also antibiotic and also other drug residues are below legal limits, their frequent use can promote resistance of bacteria to the medicine (18).

Some of the very same antibiotics are provided to treat human infections. If lock overused and the bacteria end up being resistant come them, it can leave human being without reliable treatments for particular diseases (18, 21).


Antibiotics are commonly used to combat epidemic on overfilled swai fish farms. Overuse the antibiotics boosts the hazard of bacterial resistance to them, i beg your pardon could, in turn, alleviate the effectiveness of medicine in people.

You can be bespeak swai in ~ restaurants without also knowing.

In a examine by Oceana, an international ocean conservation and advocacy organization, swai was among the three varieties of fish most commonly substituted for much more expensive fish.

In fact, swai was offered as 18 different species of fish — most typically mislabeled together perch, grouper or single (22).

Such mislabeling may happen at restaurants, supermarkets and seafood processing plants. Sometimes this mislabeling is intentional fraud due to the fact that swai is inexpensive. Various other times it’s unintentional.

Seafood regularly travels a long method from the suggest it’s caught to where you to buy it, making the more an overwhelming to trace its origin.

For example, yes sir no easy method for restaurant owners to inspect that a crate of fish castle purchased is what it says it is.

Moreover, if a type of fish no identified, such as if you ordering a fish sandwich in ~ a restaurant the doesn’t specify the form of fish, it can be swai.

In a research of fish assets served in ~ 37 restaurants in a southeastern us city, around 67% of key simply listed as “fish” top top the menu were swai (23).


Swai is occasionally intentionally or coincidentally mislabeled together another type of fish, such as perch, grouper or sole. Additionally, restaurants may not recognize the kind of fish in part dishes, for this reason there’s a great chance you’ve consumed swai, also if girlfriend didn’t know it.

If you favor swai, buy brands that have eco-certification from an independent group, such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Together brands generally include the certifying agency’s logo design on the package.

Certification indicates efforts to mitigate pollutants the can contribute to climate readjust and injury water high quality (24).

Additionally, don’t eat life or undercooked swai. Cook fish come an interior temperature of 145℉ (62.8℃) to ruin potentially harmful bacteria, such as Vibrio.

If you pick to happen on swai, there are plenty of good alternatives. Because that white-fleshed fish, take into consideration wild-caught united state catfish, Pacific ko (from the US and also Canada), haddock, sole or flounder, amongst others (25).

For fish packed v omega-3s, few of your best alternatives that don’t contain overabundance mercury are wild-caught salmon, sardines, herring, anchovies, Pacific oysters and also freshwater trout (11).

Lastly, eat a selection of various kinds of fish rather than the same form all the time. This helps mitigate the dangers that may come native over-exposure to possibly harmful contaminants in one form of fish.

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If you eat swai, choose a brand bearing an eco-certification seal, such as from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and cook it well to kill Vibrio and other harmful bacteria. Healthy choices to swai include haddock, sole, salmon and also many others.