What is Clean Tilapia?

Raw tilapia fillet on table with lemon and greens

Before we get into what clean tilapia is, let’s talk about why you would care.

You want healthy food. Clean tilapia is fed a plant-based diet and is 100 percent free of antibiotics, hormones and growth promoters. While it is raised on farms, it is grown under controlled conditions carefully maintained and audited by third party observers. You cannot say the same about any of the other major sources of protein. Beef, pork and chicken are almost assured to be artificially modified unless you kick in the extra cash for organic.

Cost. Pound for pound, clean tilapia is on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Prices may vary from store to store as well as different times of year; however it is generally one of the lowest priced options for protein — if not the lowest. To find out where to buy clean tilapia keep reading as all Tilapia is not created equally.

Macros. If you are one of the many health-conscious people out there, then chances are you track your macros and therefore you know how easy it can be to eat too much fat trying to hit your protein. Here’s a fun fact: Four ounces of Tilapia from Ecuador contains 90 calories, 20.5 grams of protein, and only .75 grams of fat. (Yes you read that right.) Is your macro problem solved? I do believe so.

With all of that new info, let’s discuss — exactly — what clean tilapia is;

You may have heard a lot of negative things about the hazards associated with eating tilapia.  We often hear things like:

  1. It’s worse for your health than bacon.

  2. They’re fed animal waste.

  3. It’s — simply put — a dirty, dirty fish.

Why would you ever eat anything described like that? You wouldn’t.  Fear not, fish eater, there is still hope. Much of the ill press tilapia receives may have started with the  publication of a study from researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. (You can read an article on the study here. It did not stop there and once an ugly rumor gets started, it just keeps gathering speed.

So which of the previous three statements are true? None of them are concerning our tilapia, and here’s why:

  1. It’s worse for your health than bacon. This stems from the assumption that the ratio within a normal diet of two different fatty acids — omega-6s  and omega-3s — should fall around 2:1 (which in and of itself is debatable) as anything higher may result in inflammation within the human body. The amount of omega-6s in tilapia is less than 0.4 grams per serving which is too low to even be an issue. Your average american gets far more omega-6s from healthy foods like nuts and seeds than he or she does from tilapia.  Even more from processed foods and fast foods, such as chips, cookies, margerines, and fries.  To put this in perspective, a 4 oz. serving of tilapia contains about 0.4 grams — far less than normal foods, such as chicken and potato chips.

  2. They’re fed animal waste. Although this may be true (no substantial evidence has been presented to fortify it as truth) for some other farms, the clean tilapia imported by Tropical Aquaculture Products are fed steady diets of plant-based food sources — none of which have been previously digested.

  3. It’s — simply put — a dirty, dirty fish. Tilapia is a low-calorie, high-protein fish that is — simply put — not dirty. To add positivity to positivity, it is also lower in mercury than some other popular fishes due to its diet and place in the hierarchy of the ecosystem (as top-level aquatic predators tend to contain high levels of mercury). Too much mercury means you won’t have to worry about eating that tuna rare — mercury poisoning can ultimately lead to death. While small amounts of mercury are not life threatening the amount of mercury ingested can be especially important for children,  pregnant women, or women trying to get pregnant. This makes it very important to minimize or eliminate it from their diets.


To help further tell our tale, let’s talk import statistics.

Visual chart of tilapia imports from other countries to the United States

Latin America accounts for 96 percent of fresh tilapia imported into the United States with zero FDA rejections. ZERO. Guess how many rejections there are from other sources? Click here for the answer. Hint: it’s not zero.

So let’s to try and wrap things up and answer the question: What is Clean Tilapia.

Clean Tilapia is fresh tilapia that is:

  1. Raised in Latin America

  2. Raised in controlled conditions

  3. Fed a plant based diet

  4. Given NO hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, or growth promoter

If you are wondering how or where to find it it is really quite simple. If you are buying fresh fish just ask where it comes from.  If it is from Colombia, Brazil, or Ecuador then you are probably good.  If it is Tilapia imported from our friends over Tropical Aquaculture Products, Inc then you are most assuredly good as they only import Tilapia if it is Clean Tilapia.  You can also check out EatTilapia.com for recipes, store locations, and a whole lot more on Clean Tilapia!