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Cats, Yes; Cod, No

September 20, 2000

Calamari, catfish and crab are OK to eat, Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and swordfish are not. Wild salmon is OK, farmed salmon is not.

It's tough to keep track of what's environmentally correct at the seafood counter these days, but who better than the Monterey Bay Aquarium to help?

The aquarium has put together a wallet-sized card that neatly sums up the state of the most popular seafood varieties, based on their biologists' best estimates of the existing fish populations and fishery practices.

The best fish to eat (environmentally) include: albacore, calamari, catfish, farmed clams, Dungeness crab, halibut, mahi-mahi, farmed mussels, New Zealand cod, farmed oysters, farmed trout, wild salmon, farmed striped bass, farmed sturgeon and farmed tilapia.

Those to avoid: bluefin tuna, Chilean sea bass, cod, lingcod, monkfish, orange roughy, Pacific red snapper, sablefish, farmed salmon (because of waste and feed issues), sea scallops, shark, shrimp and swordfish.

To get the card, check the aquarium's Web site: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org or write to Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-1085.

Hotter Than Habanero?

Is the hottest pepper on Earth from India? Reuters reports that scientists have discovered that a type of pepper grown in that country's northeast has the highest Scoville rating ever found.

Called the Tezpur chile, after the area of Assam where it is grown, the pepper is reported to have beaten Mexico's Red Savina habanero, widely acclaimed as the hottest pepper. The Tezpur was rated having 855,000 Scoville units; the habanero has 557,000.

The news service takes pains to point out that the scientists who made the discovery are Indian and that India is the world's top producer of peppers, exporting an estimated 35 tons a year.

Stink on Superhighway

What can't you find on the Internet? Mahlon Smith and Chad Sobotka have a Web site called "Stinkymeat" (http://www.thespark.com) that is dedicated to documenting the decay of steak, ground beef and hot dogs they've hidden in their neighbor's backyard. They claim 3 million hits a day. Needless to say, there is a sequel, "Stinkymeat 2." Both are posted. "I'm not really sure what the appeal is," Smith said. "It doesn't get much more immature."

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