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Farmed vs Wild - What you should know...

The Farm Raised Salmon Controversy:
Courtesy of the New York Seafood Council:

http://www.nyseafood.org/news15.html

...the actual levels (of PCBs and dioxin) measured in both farm raised and wild salmon were significantly lower than the current standards set by federal government agencies in the U.S. , Canada , Europe, and the WHO. For example, the U.S. FDA standard for PCBs in fish is 2.0 parts per million, and this recent study measured an average of .038 parts per million of PCBs in farm raised salmon which is over 50 times lower than current U.S. standards. The amount of all of the other chemical contaminants measured in farm-raised salmon were also well below current regulatory levels established in the U.S. and by the WHO. Trace amounts of chemical contaminants like PCBs can also be found in many other foods such as meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs, and because we eat so much more of these foods they may actually contribute more PCBs to our diet than farm raised salmon or other fish.

On January 9, 2004 a controversial study was published in the journal Science that measured a variety of chemical contaminants in wild and farm raised salmon from around the world. The extensive press coverage of this study raised questions about the safety of farm-raised salmon and has confused many consumers. The following information about the benefits and risks associated with farm-raised salmon are provided to help consumers put this issue into perspective.

Putting the Salmon Study Into Perspective:
Public health agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, similar government agencies in countries around the world as well as the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO), regularly evaluate the available science concerning chemical contaminants in our food and set regulatory limits to protect public health. The recent study published in the journal Science measured a variety of chemical contaminants in both farm raised and wild salmon and concluded that the level of chemical contaminants such as PCBs and dioxin was significantly higher in the samples of farm raised salmon that were analyzed as compared to wild species of salmon from the Pacific Ocean. What was not widely reported was that the actual levels measured in both farm raised and wild salmon were significantly lower than the current standards set by federal government agencies in the U.S. , Canada , Europe, and the WHO. For example, the U.S. FDA standard for PCBs in fish is 2.0 parts per million, and this recent study measured an average of .038 parts per million of PCBs in farm raised salmon which is over 50 times lower than current U.S. standards. The amount of all of the other chemical contaminants measured in farm-raised salmon were also well below current regulatory levels established in the U.S. and by the WHO. Trace amounts of chemical contaminants like PCBs can also be found in many other foods such as meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs, and because we eat so much more of these foods they may actually contribute more PCBs to our diet than farm raised salmon or other fish. While the authors of this new study recommended that consumers limit their consumption of farm raised salmon based on the study’s results, many scientists in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as well as the officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continue to recommend that consumers eat seafood twice per week, and eat a variety of different fish including higher fat fish like salmon.

The Benefits of Seafood (and Salmon) Consumption:
Most Americans are struggling with diet and lifestyle choices that could put them at risk of serious health problems associated with heart disease (the leading cause of death in the U.S.) and obesity. Hundreds of studies have provided evidence indicating that increasing the amount of the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, Alzheimers, diabetes, depression, premature birth and can relieve symptoms of arthritis. Seafood is also a low calorie, high protein food that is low in total fat that can help fight obesity when regularly included in a balanced diet. For these reasons, the American Heart Association and other public health professionals recommend consuming two seafood meals per week as an important component of a balanced healthy diet. There are a wide variety of seafood choices available, and most experts recommend eating a variety of different seafood products to maximize benefits and minimize potential risks. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring contain the most omega-3 fatty acids, but all fish and shellfish contain omega-3s. Farm raised salmon is likely to be one of the most widely available and affordable sources of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids to consumers in the eastern United States other than canned salmon, mackerel or tuna. Fresh wild salmon (not canned) is not widely available in the eastern U.S. and costs significantly more than farm raised salmon when it is available.


 

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