When I look at a client’s food diary and they eat fish, the number one choice is nearly always salmon. Why? Because they think that this is the healthy choice. Here are four top reasons why farmed salmon should not on your plate.
1. Farmed salmon is full of contaminants
Most salmon sold in Australia is farmed in Tasmania and unfortunately farmed salmon is given a highly processed high-fat feed . The salmon on these intense farms has been shown to contain high levels of contaminants such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and other toxic chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer and developmental issues in children. Various research papers show that farmed salmon also increases the risk of stroke in women, type 2 diabetes, obesity and various cancers.
A 2004 report in the journal ‘Science’ reported that PCB concentrations in farmed salmon is much higher than in wild caught salmon. Ironically these levels are considered safe by the FDA but not by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
2. Farmed salmon has dyes added
Wild caught salmon is a natural, healthy pink colour because of the prawns and krill that is consumed by salmon in the oceans. Farmed salmon is fed an unhealthy pellet and therefore is a natural beige colour. So for marketing purposes (because we all expect salmon to be a luscious red/pink colour right?) farmers add dyes to the feed so they change the colour of the fish from the inside out! A pharmaceutical company called Hoffman-La Roche who produce the pink dyes have developed a colour chart called the SalmoFan, similar to what you would find in your local DIY store when looking at different paints for your house. It’s been noted that the more affluent communities like the darker shades (number 34) whereas lower social-economic groups prefer salmon to be lighter in colour (number 20). Consumer laws in a lot of countries have now made it mandatory for salmon to be labelled with ‘colour added’ stickers so take note of this next time you go to the supermarket.
3. Farmed Salmon is fed soy
The pellets fed to farmed salmon contains an array of unhealthy ingredients including soy. I am not against soy but I do like to know what type of soy I am consuming and the soy found in pellets is going to be cheaper filler food i.e. genetically modified, non-organic soy.
4. Antibiotic Concerns
Farmed salmon is similar to a battery farm for chickens. The fish are crammed into pens and sometimes there can be up to 50,000 fish confined into a small space. This means diseases can be spread and therefore need to be kept under control. It has been reported that in Australia between 2006 and 2008, there was almost 18 tonnes of the antibiotics oxytetracycline and amoxicillin fed to farmed Tasmanian salmon.
If you’re worried about getting enough omega 3 in your diet, why don’t you look at other oily fish such as wild trout or sardines? If you are vegetarian, chia seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids . There are also a wealth of other choices such as flax (seeds, oil), walnuts, hemp (seeds and oil) and soy (organic, non GM, fermented where possible).