Farm Raised Salmon Vs. Wild Ocean Caught Salmon
you're on a healthy nutritional plan, you're probably eating a nutrient
dense diet which is filled with lean protein, whole wheat carbs
and rich omega-3 fatty acids. To get your healthy omega-3 fatty
acids, you may have decided to introduce salmon to your diet which
is a great choice but make sure you know the difference between
farm raised versus wild ocean caught salmon before stocking up.
There are several health related issues with farm raised salmon
which can be found in your local grocery stores and restaurants.
We will discuss how farm raised salmon differs from wild ocean caught
salmon and the biggest issues that surround the farm raised type.
Farm raised salmon are fish which are housed in controlled farms
across the country. These salmon are jam packed into little bins
with hundreds if not thousands of other salmon and fed fishmeal
pellets as their daily diet to bulk them up for market. Fishmeal
consists of ground-up sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and other small
fish. These are the biggest issues with farm raised salmon:
- PCB levels - Polychlorinated biphenyls "PCBs"
are mixtures of up to 209 individual chlorinated compounds (known
as congeners). There are no known natural sources of PCBs. PCBs
are either oily liquids or solids that are colorless to light
yellow. PCBs have been used as coolants and lubricants in transformers,
capacitors, and other electrical equipment because they don't
burn easily and are good insulators. The manufacture of PCBs was
stopped in the U.S. in 1977 because of evidence they build up
in the environment and can cause harmful health effects. However,
PCBs persist in the environment. Salmon absorb PCBs from contaminated
sediments and from their food. Studies found that the fishmeal
pellets fed to farm raised salmon is highly contaminated with
PCBs. Farm raised salmon is dangerous because of the process of
bioaccumulation. When you eat salmon, your digestive processes
break down the contaminated salmon fat, releasing the PCBs into
your system. Your body then stores the PCBs in its own fat. So
if you eat a large amounts of salmon, the PCBs of each piece of
salmon become stored in your body. The PCBs eventually leave your
body, however its over the course of years. The danger comes when
you eat salmon often because the PCBs and other contaminants bioaccumulate
inside of you.
- Higher Fat Content - Because salmon are jam packed in
bins with other fish, they can't move around as much so they have
a higher level of fat. On the other hand, wild ocean caught salmon
are free to swim and move all over, so they are a much leaner
fish. The last thing you want is to think you're choosing a healthy
lean salmon but in fact are getting a much fattier fish than expected.
Not only does sedentary effects pack fat onto farm raised salmon
but the fishmeal they are fed also has a direct effect of their
overall fat content. The oils from the fishmeal pack fat onto
farm raised salmon which results in farm raised salmon having
52% more fat than wild ocean caught salmon. But the weight
gain from additional fat also results in higher levels of PCBs
and other contaminants in the farmed salmon.
- Artificial Colorings - Wild ocean caught salmon have
that beautiful pink color to them. They get this coloring from
being in the wild and by eating their daily diet of natural food
from the ocean. Farm raised salmon do not have this pink color,
so they are given artificial colorings to make them more palatable
to the eye. This basically makes them more marketable, since many
consumers prefer fish with the traditional pink color. The chemicals
used to turn farm raised salmon pink are canthaxanthin and astaxanthin.
- Overall Cheaper Salmon - Wild ocean caught salmon tends
to be 3-4 times more expensive per pound than farm raised salmon.
Make sure you get what you pay for, so next time you're at the
grocery store, take a look at the label to see what type of salmon
you're getting. The FDA makes it mandatory for all packaged salmon
in grocery stores to specify if the salmon you're purchasing is
either farmed raised or wild ocean caught. Also, when you're at
your favorite restaurant, ask the waiter/waitress if the salmon
is farm raised or wild. This way, you will pick a healthier fish
and make sure they are not over charging for a fish which may
be of cheaper quality.