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:
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.
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.