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The heart of the matter

Do you have a moral obligation to sell healthy food?

I was born with a broken heart. Literally.

Transposition of the great arteries, is what it is called when the aorta is connected to the right ventricle, and the pulmonary artery is connected to the left ventricle — the opposite of a normal heart's anatomy.

And when I was born no surgical fix for it had yet been invented. But at age 6, thanks to a team of brilliant doctors, the fix was found and my broken heart was reset to factory specs.

At the Boston seafood show, chef Barton Seaver, speaking at the premiere of Verlasso’s film "Full Circle -- The Journey of a Waterman," opened by saying he sees the supply of healthy seafood as a moral obligation – an imperative to make the healthiest protein on the planet available to consumers.

He spoke of the epidemic of heart disease in America and around the world -- which caught my attention. An estimated 17.7 million people died from cardio vascular disease (CVD) in 2015, representing 31 percent of all global deaths. A diet rich in omega-3s, we know, is some of the best medicine against CVDs.

There are many strong efforts out there pushing the healthiness of seafood, and I think consumers are listening.

I wasn’t always a fan of the food-as-medicine approach to selling seafood, but it seems the times have caught up with our product, and today’s consumers are looking for foods that taste good but are also good for them.

The Millennials and the generation that is following them have been raised on the idea of quality food -- food low in sugar and other undesirables and high in protein, omega-3s and other body-fueling nutrients.

So, is Seaver correct? Do we have a moral obligation to produce healthy food, or is it OK to just produce food that fills a belly?

I’ve talked to enough of you to know that an overwhelming number of you are proud to be in the seafood business exactly because you believe you play a part in supplying the world with arguably the finest protein on the planet.

For so many of you, the health benefits of seafood are not simply a marketing line you toss out without conviction and belief.

Whether you want to call it your moral obligation or not is up to you, but from what I have seen the members of this industry take seriously the mission of providing wholesome, heart-healthy, nutritious protein that in some way makes the world a better place.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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