Over the Labor Day weekend, the Perdido Bay Mullet Festival in Lillian, Alabama had to do something it's never had to do before -- substitute catfish for mullet. Why? Because, according to event organizer Bill Cornell, the company that supplies the mullet for the annual festival "didn’t feel good about the fish" and "won’t sell them for human consumption.
Meanwhile, despite these concerns, bottom-feeding fish like mullet are currently being caught and eaten all over the Gulf, with the potential risk not being limited to direct human consumption of the fish, but indirectly by mullet being fed to hogs, as Dr. Norma Bowe of Kean University in New Jersey observed a few weeks ago. Striking up a conversation with some fishermen who were hauling in nets full of mullet from a pier in Long Beach, Mississippi, Dr. Bowe found out that one of the men was also a hog farmer who was catching the mullet to feed to his hogs.
The consequences of this disaster are going to permeate the US food chain in ways we cannot even begin to appreciate at this point.