News – “No, Tilapia Is Not a Mutant, Boneless, Toxic Fish, Despite What the Internet Says”

munchies.vice.com – Please stop falling for that crazy graphic of tilapia “facts” that is making its way around the internet.

Photo via Flickr user WorldFish

Earlier this week, the trailer for The Meg—an upcoming summer movie starring Jason Statham, Jason Statham’s clenched jaw, and a creature described as “the largest shark that ever existed”—made its way around the internet. Even though the titular Meg (short for Megalodon) is supposedly 60 feet long and has a bite stronger than the average T. Rex, it still seems less terrifying than that graphic of tilapia “facts” that is also making its way around the internet.

If your list of Facebook friends includes anyone over the age of 55, you know the picture that we’re talking about: It’s the one with a stock photo of a tilapia underneath two vats of what might be Spaghetti-Os, and some 100 PERCENT WELL RESEARCHED AND SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE STATEMENTS about the fish, such as “This fish is boneless, has no skin and can’t be overcooked,” “You can’t find tilapia in the wild” and “Dioxin is found in this fish. Cancers are caused by the toxin dioxin, which can take up to 11 years to clear your body of it once consumed.”

Thankfully, the good people at Snopes investigated those claims and determined that the viral graphic’s statements are pretty dang false, including the disclaimer that tilapia is a “mutant” that is “killing our families.” First, yes, tilapia has both skin and bones, as pretty much anyone with eyeballs can determine. (And last spring, doctors in Brazil began testing tilapia skin as a potential bandage for patients with second- and third-degree burns).

Next, although they are largely raised on farms now, the fish originated in the Middle East and Africa. And while it might be true to say that dioxins are found in the fish, that’s neither surprising nor worth making a weird meme about (Who makes these memes is my real question,” one Redditor asked. “Is it just the same guy who says things like ‘Obama is secretly a mechanical lizzard [sic] man pod person sent from mars to eat your children’?”


Okay I admit that when I saw that tilapia meme floating around the twitterverse a few months back I immediately banned tilapia from my life and my family’s life lol You can call it overreaction but seriously I wasn’t risking it…especially seeing that my family throws down on a LOT of Tilapia, good to know we weren’t eating mutant garbage fish all these years.

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