Jan 20, 2015
Wild salmon is rose tinted, from eating shrimp and krill in its diet. But farmed salmon is fed pellets made from ground fish and soy, its color is beige. So farmers add dyes to their feed to change the fish’s color from the inside. They can use a color chart, like the paint colors in hardware stores, called the SalmoFan. It allows farmers to choose shades of flesh between pale salmon pink (#20) and bright orange-red (#34). Over the last several years, consumer lawsuits have forced some supermarkets to put “color added” labels on the packaging of farmed salmon.
To save money, salmon farmers add bulking agents like poultry litter (that’s poop) and hydrolyzed chicken feathers to the feed. The more omega-3 and the less omega-6, the better. Finding a balance between the two is key, since one fights inflammation while the other tends to promote it. Wild Alaskan salmon is an omega-3 goldmine; just 3 ounces provide 1,253 mg of the stuff and just 114 mg of omega-6s. Farmed salmon has even more omega-3s, providing 1,705 mg in a 3-ounce serving. But feed makers save money by bulking up the fish’s food pellets with soy, which increases the ratio of omega-6 acids. As a result, farmed salmon has 1,900 mg of omega-6s. So instead of pushing your 3:6 ratio in the right direction, you’re actually taking a step backwards.
Vitamin D, a nutrient for bone health, and can also reduce your risk of heart attack, is one fourth in farmed fish what it is in wild salmon.
Analyzing 700 salmon bought in stores from Edinburgh, Scotland to Seattle, Washington, a team led by Ronald Hites, PhD, of Indiana University, found that the farmed product contained up to 8 times more PCBs—cancer-causing industrial chemicals that were banned in 1979—than the wild variety. Other chemicals found in farmed fish include dioxins from herbicides (the most famous being Agent Orange).
Salmon farms attract a disgusting marine insect called sea lice; to get rid of these parasites, farmers spike their feed with a marine toxin called Slice, or ermamectin benzoate. The pesticide is also used to rid sick trees of pine beetles. When administered to rats and dogs, it causes tremors, spinal deterioration and muscle atrophy.
In Chile, where the majority of our salmon is raised, baby salmon (called smolt) are raised in freshwater lakes rather than in hatcheries, where native species can pass parasites to the juvenile salmon before they are taken to the ocean. Several cases of intestinal parasites in humans have been traced back to raw farmed salmon.
Due to the concentration of contaminants in the salmon, Hites and his team concluded that “the majority of farm-raised salmon should be consumed at one meal or less per month.” In the case of Scottish salmon, they recommended that those who wish to avoid cancer-causing chemicals have no more than three farmed-salmon meals a year.
Try the following,
Rainbow trout it’s farmed under strict environmental standards
Artic char farmed or fresh is OK
Pacific halibut wild
And wild varieties of sardines and Mackerel.