Is Tilapia Safe to Eat?

Tilapia or also known as Saint Peter’s Fish is a common name for fish that come from the chichlid family. The Tilapia is a freshwater fish that people commonly consumed especially in restaurants.

Is tilapia safe to eat

Tilapia or also known as Saint Peter’s Fish is a common name for fish that come from the chichlid family. The Tilapia is a freshwater fish that people commonly consumed especially in restaurants. When cooked, it has a soft, cottony meat even when deep fried and can be switched out to replace more expensive fish such as red snapper and grouper. The common reason being that their meat’s have the same texture to an untrained tongue that people don’t notice.

However, there are still some ways to notice such as how it’s not cleaned well. Because Tilapia don’t commonly feed on regular feed (they eat algae), they may have some earthy taste to them which can be a turn off for some people. But like any other seafood, people have their apprehensions about. The main, big, million dollar question: is eating Tilapia safe?

Before eating Tilapia, here are a few things you need to consider before eating it or wondering if its safe.

Where is it from?

In contrast to most fish, wild caught Tilapia is a little more sketchy. Unlike other kinds of fish, they eat algae. And if they’re in a water full of algae, you have no idea what’s been in there. This is why Tilapia are best cultivated in farms. When cultivated in farms, the algae are either introduced to the water or grown a little. But they’re not grown to the point that the water turns green. That would just simply mean the water is awfully dirty and you should never eat a fish from there.

Other times, some people feed their Tilapia animal faeces which is the last thing you want to eat.

Who in the world cleaned the fish?

Like any other fish, there are some things you shouldn’t eat unless your chef is talented. For starters, most people don’t like eating the stomach which can often be bitter. The bitterness can be due to the blood sac present. If the blood sac isn’t removed, it’ll leave a bitter taste. At the same time, it may cause stomach problems if not cleaned properly.

Another thing to worry about eating Tilapia is the freshness. Sometimes, people either coat the gills red with blood in order to make them seem fresh. However, it can be quite obvious especially when the blood starts to come off. Other things to take note of the Tilapia about its freshness is the eyes. If the eyes are red or murky, that means they’ve been dead for awhile and may lose some freshness and have cultivated some bacteria inside.

Is Tilapia safe to eat? What are its benefits?

Not only is Tilapia not expensive but it also has omega-3. While it doesn’t have the same amount as Salmon, it does serve as a cheap alternative for the time being. And considering some reports about Salmon lately, people may be turning to Tilapia for their fill of protein.

Not only is it protein, but it’s also a light protein. Eating a lot of beef or pork to add more protein to your system can get a little heavy. At times, it may also induce migraines which have some links to having high cholesterol. Because of this, eating Tilapia can be a good alternative. Also, it’s not as expensive beef.

The main takeaway is to make sure that the establishment you’re buying it from is clean. And that they clean their fish well. Otherwise, you’re going to have a bad case of food poisoning if you’re not careful.


Alam, L., Mokhtar, M. B., Alam, M., Bari, M., Kathijotes, N., Ta, G. C., & Ern, L. K. (2015). Assessment of environmental and human health risk for contamination of heavy metal in tilapia fish collected from Langat Basin, Malaysia. Asian Journal of Water, Environment and Pollution, 12(2), 21-30.

Cheng, Y. H., Lin, Y. J., You, S. H., Yang, Y. F., How, C. M., Tseng, Y. T., … & Liao, C. M. (2016). Assessing exposure risks for freshwater tilapia species posed by mercury and methylmercury. Ecotoxicology, 25(6), 1181-1193.

May, H., & Burger, J. (1996). Fishing in a polluted estuary: fishing behavior, fish consumption, and potential risk. Risk Analysis, 16(4), 459-471.

Greer, B., Maul, R., Campbell, K., & Elliott, C. T. (2017). Detection of freshwater cyanotoxins and measurement of masked microcystins in tilapia from Southeast Asian aquaculture farms. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry, 409(16), 4057-4069.

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