Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wild Caught vs Farm-raised Salmon

Yesterday, the butcher at a Safeway supermarket gave me a great spiel on the merits of the seafood in his case, including factory-farmed salmon.

He was justifiably proud of a recent Greenpeace Green Rating.
Since the CATO project began in 2007, the 20 retailers analyzed within the report have discontinued a total of 67 red list species—over 20% of the total number originally sold. Most of this progress was made in the past two years, which is indicative of a growing trend within the sector to eschew unsustainable seafood products in favor of more responsible and defensible alternatives.

The move to quality, affordability and sustainable seafood is a Big Deal for a national food chain and a step in the right direction for the environment as well as consumers.

According to a Greenpeace press release:
This week Safeway stores in California began stocking a budget-friendly sustainable tuna that provides an alternative to environmentally destructive mainstream options such as Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea.

But sustainable does not equate to healthy, i.e., fish that are free of the many deficits that farming can cause.

As Providence would have it, Marion Nestle, Food Politics, published a letter from anti-fish farming advocates today. It details the many reasons that farm-raised salmon is about the unhealthiest fish in the food case.
The hazards of Norwegian farmed salmon are well documented. A scientific paper in 2004 published in the journal Science revealed cancer-causing contaminants such as dioxins, PCBs, DDT, dieldrin and toxaphene. A 2005 study and another 2006 study both concluded that the consumption of farmed salmon carried an elevated cancer risk. Another 2009 study in the Journal of Cancer Research reported carcinogenis in Norwegian farmed salmon including intestinal tumors and metastases (analogous to that of human colorectal cancer associated with inflammatory bowel disease). In 2011, a scientific study concluded that consumption of Norwegian farmed salmon was linked to diabetes and obesity (no wonder the American Diabetes Association recommends wild not farmed salmon).

While it is specific to Norwegian farmed-salmon, widely distributed by Costco, the overall health hazards prove ubiquitous in this industry.

I chose the wild-caught salmon.

How about you?

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