Published On: Thu, Jan 16th, 2014

3 Foods Eaten In The Us That You Don’t Need To Worry About Anymore While In Yucatan

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We came across information in sites such as,, to name a few, regarding certain foods that are of common consumption in the US but banned in many different parts of the world, so we decided to take a look at it.

Indeed the information is controversial since states facts for many of extreme delicate nature. We have taken the three most debated ones and explain to you what you can do, now that you are living in Merida.


If you like fish and want to exploit its health benefits, you want to stay away from farmed fish; particularly farmed salmon because in many cases, it is fed dangerous chemicals. Wild salmon gets its bright pinkish-red color from natural carotenoids in their diet however farmed salmon are raised on a unnatural diet of grains, many of them the engineered varieties, plus a brew of antibiotics, drugs and chemicals not revealed to be safe for humans. Because of this diet, the fish will change its color from that typical beautiful pink-redish to an unattractive grayish flesh so to compensate; they’re fed astaxanthin made from petrochemicals, which has not been approved for human consumption.

How can you tell whether a salmon is wild or farm-raised? The flesh of wild sockeye salmon is bright red, courtesy of its natural astaxanthin content. It’s also very lean, so the fat marks, those white stripes you see in the meat, are very thin. If the fish is pale pink with wide fat marks, the salmon is farmed.

Avoid salmon labeled “Atlantic Salmon” currently, most of it comes from fish farms. The two designations you want to look for are: “Alaskan salmon,” and “sockeye salmon,” as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed.

Please realize that the vast majority of all salmon sold in restaurants is farm raised.

Again, you can tell sockeye salmon from other salmon by its color; its flesh is bright red opposed to pink, courtesy of its superior astaxanthin content. Sockeye salmon actually has one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin of any food.

Difference between farm and wild salmon (Photo:

Difference between farm and wild salmon (Photo:

Where is this banned? In Australia and New Zealand

Mérida is rich in the variety of fish you can find in its nearby Golf of Mexico waters. Delicious types of fishe (and seafood) are available such as “mero”, “rubia” “Chac-chí” “Canané”or the “boquinete” just to name a few. Give it a try and you will not miss salmon.

Where can I find awesome fish (and seafood) in Mérida? If you like it fresh, go to the Mercado Grande in the Centro of Mérida or the Mercado in Progreso, only 15 minutes from Merida. There you will find the catch of the day at good prices and amazing quality.

Mercado Lucas de Galvez (Photo:

Mercado Lucas de Galvez (Photo:



Currently certain type of papaya is genetically engineered to be resistant to different illnesses endemic to the plant such as ringspot virus. One of those is the Hawaiian papaya, common found in markets, super markets and hypermarkets in the United States.

Hawaiian Papaya

Hawaiian Papaya

Increasing research now shows that animals fed genetically engineered foods, such as corn and soy, suffer a wide range of conditions, including intestinal damage, multiple organ damage, premature death, and near complete sterility by the third generation of descendants. Unfortunately, the gigantic human lab experiment is only about 10 years old, so we are likely decades away from tabulating the human casualties.

Where it’s banned: The European Union

If you live here, know that the Yucatecan Papaya is REMARKABLE! It is so good that 40 thousand tons are produced every year and is exported to many different parts of the world and it is used to make one of Yucatan must representative dessert: “Dulce de papaya”.

You should also try Yucatan´s watermelon, pitahaya (dragon fruit), caimito, zapote, mango or many others depending on the season.

Where do I find fresh fruit in Mérida? In the Mercado Grande, Mercado de Santa Ana, The Slow food market amongst others. The fruit you will find in these places is just breathtaking! You will taste the difference.

Fruit market Merida Centro

Fruit market Merida Centro



The drug ractopamine (a repartitioning agent that increases protein synthesis) was recruited for livestock use when researchers found that such drug, used in asthma, made mice more muscular. Because of this drug, there is a significant reduction in the overall fat content of the meat. Ractopamine is currently used in about 45 percent of United States pigs, 30 percent of ration-fed cattle, and an unknown percentage of turkeys are pumped full of this drug in the days leading up to slaughter. Up to 20 percent of ractopamine remains in the meat people are buying from the supermarket, according to experts such as, veterinarian Michael W. Fox.


Since 1998, more than 1,700 people have been “poisoned” from eating pigs fed with the drug, and ractopamine is banned from use in food animals in no less than 160 different countries due to its harmful health effects! As of February, 2013, Russia issued a ban on US meat imports, scheduled to last until the United States agrees to certify that the meat is ractopamine-free. At present, the US does not even test for the presence of this drug in meats sold. In animals, ractopamine is linked to reductions in reproductive function, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, and increased death and disability. It’s also known to affect the human cardiovascular system, and is thought to be responsible for hyperactivity, and may cause chromosomal abnormalities and behavioral changes.

“The use of ractopamine/clenbuterol in animal fattening is prohibited by Mexican law and criminalized” According to Diego Brana Varela, specialist of the National Institute of Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock (INIFAP) and president of the Mexican Association of Technical Specialists in Meat (Amexitec), the Mexican pork, is 100 percent free of the drug.  According to the Mexican Meat Council there is no “serious health problem” regarding the use of this drug in Mexico and combat actions of the federal government will not cease until eradication.

Where it’s banned: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China and Republic of China (Taiwan)

Where do I find quality meat in Merida? If you want it absolutely fresh, Mercado de Santa Ana and Mercado Grande are good options as well as established “carnicerías”. However you can also find good quality meat in name brand super markets.





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