Is salmon dangerous?

What’s the deal with salmon and PCB and mercury contamination?
Is it enough to harm us?
Or, is it in trace amounts?

Farm-raised salmon is higher in PCB’s and other contaminants than wild salmon.

Stick to wild Alaskan salmon. It tastes better anyway.

Like Fear says:

Stay away from farmed salmon

Salmon is cheap in supermarkets now. I recon cheap=suspicious. I recently read a book by John Humphries (a BBC guy) which had a scary description of how salmon farms are run, for an instance of what they get up to, the salmon are effectively dyed pink, as a ‘farmer’ you pick the colour you want off a chart.

You won’t catch me eating that crap.

When I moved to California last year, I noticed that the salmon on display in the supermarket fish department had a little sign that said “Color Added.”

Haven’t touched salmon since…

Unless you are pregnant the benefits of eating salmon 2 or 3 times a week outweighs the slight mercury contamination. I, BTW, eat salmon 4 or 5 times a week.

If you wish to avoid farmed salmon, buy the canned salmon, which are not farmed. But it doesn’t taste any where as good as the frozen or fresh salmon.

I don’t know. How long has it been since you fed them?


Around here, most of the salmon for sale is explicitly labeled as farm-raised or wild. Even if it isn’t, you can tell because wild salmon is more expensive by quite a bit.

As to the coloring, salmon being the wrong color or getting color added isn’t inherently bad, I think. Their color comes from what they eat in the wild. It just so happens that what they’re fed on farms not only makes the flesh a different color, but also makes them have more PCBs and mercury. I think it is conceivable that they could be fed food that didn’t make them dangerous for humans to eat while still making them a totally different color from wild salmon.

They add color to oranges too. They have to be as orange as possible, after all.

The concerns surrounding farm-raised salmon are mostly exaggerating something that isn’t all that significant. Unless you’re on an all-salmon diet, farm-raised salmon is good, cheap and nutritious. (And yummy).

Oh… my… God :eek:
There’s a lot of ignorance in this thread, but I’ll be nice :D.

First of all, no one asked about farmed salmon - just plain salmon and is it dangerous. Unless you have the fish consumption rate of a 400lb seal, the answer is: NO.

The answer to the un-asked question of farmed salmon being dangerous is also: NO. Neither type is dangerous.

The PCB and mercury levels found in either form anywhere but heavily polluted waters are well below health risk levels. It’s that simple, and that’s your answer. Not dangerous… I’ve never come across a single case of any human in history dying from PCB or mercury specifically from salmon… farmed or wild.

I’m sorry but you reckon wrong. Salmon is cheap right now because there is a lot of it being produced; especially in Chile where cost of production is lower then N. America or Northern Europe. That’s it - supply and demand, not multi-national conspiracies by evil farmers to kill people with dyes and attractive prices to lure them in.

It has become very fashionable in the media over the past few years to spread fear-mongering in relation to the salmon farming industry. That’s really what it is; I don’t know which BBC guy you’re talking about but every report I’ve seen has followed the same pattern of nonsense so far, so forgive me for assuming he’s probably just going with the flow.

No, salmon are not effectivley dyed any more so than your wild fish; not as in soaking a material in a coloured solution at least. The pigments astaxanthin and canthaxanthin mixed in with salmon food are the same pigments found in krill that wild salmon eat. It ends up in the flesh turning it pink-orange to varying degrees depending on how much of what the fish eats. And I’m afraid if you’ve ever eaten anything but snow-white salmon, you already HAVE eaten that crap… and I presume it hasn’t hurt you yet. The colouring is a natural process and isn’t dangerous.

What scary things have the farmers been up to? You can ask me any questions you have as I’ve worked on them and researched them for many years. I don’t work for them now nor do I work for any groups against them, so my info would probably be more accurate than the BBC guy who needs to get a good story out.

Taste is subjective, and if you really want a scare check out the same contaminant levels in beef, poultry, milk, and any other staple in your diet.

“But I didn’t eat the salmon mousse!” :eek:

I would rather have less ignorance.

The vast majority of the canthaxanthin used in farmed salmon is sythetically produced by Hoffman-La Roche from petrochemicals. It is an artificial agent added to produce color in otherwise colorless fish. I’ll show you my cites when you show me yours.

Nonsense! Why I just ate some salmon today and I dfdggg dfdkkhn feeelll fime dfjsdlkvcvl


Have they got frickin’ laser beams on their heads?

You’ve obviously never been combat fishing. The caption says that this is a slow day. That’s putting it mildly. On an opening day, it’s shoulder-to-shoulder and the chance of catching a hook in an ear or worse is extremely high.

On a different tack, despite the debunking done above, the danger is to the livelihood of American commercial fishermen. When you buy farmed salmon, you are (probably) purchasing something from outside the U.S. Those people funnel the money to Al Quaida. No wait, different thread.

Seriously, please support American fisheries and fishermen. Alaska salmon is superior to any other product. I’ve eaten salmon all over the world and there is just no comparison to Copper River reds or kings.

Thank you for your time.

OK, cites for what exactly? You haven’t said anything contrary to what I’ve said. It’s the same compound found in wild feed, it colours the flesh the by the same mechanism as in wild fish (a natural metabolic process), and it is not dangerous. Where’s the disagreement?

Are you saying that if the pigment is synthesized that it’s dangerous? That would require a cite. Wild salmon are also relatively colourless until they ingest pigments from an outside source.

Maybe you mean canthaxanthin isn’t found in nature and that makes adding it to salmon food “artificial” and dangerous. You can google the words “canthaxanthin” and “krill” to see that it is found in the wild. Then again maybe you mean synthesized chemicals are bad… but the entire pharmaceutical industry is pretty much based on those processes and quite rigorous testing of such chemicals’ safety. Until I understand what you’re trying to say I’m afraid we still don’t have any evidence that salmon (again - farmed OR wild) is dangerous to human health.

Wow, some people seem to take things so personally.

John Humphrys isn’t just some hack:BBC guy
My aversion to farmed salmon is due to a chapter in his book The Great Food Gamble. What he describes is the fish version of factory farming with the same overcrowding and abuse of antibiotics and pesticides. The dying/colouring thing probably has no health effects it’s just an example of what has to be done to an un-natural product to make it marketable. The fact is farmed fish don’t have the same diet as wild fish so they are a different colour. He also describes farmed salmon as being fatter than wild salmon reducing the health benefits and that the ratio of omego-3 to -6 fatty acids is less favourable.

There may well be excellent fish farms but I’ll just stick with the wild stuff.

He does an axe to grind about organic farming and the book is not at all scientific but his chapter on GE foods even gives me second thoughts. My previous attitude was that fear of GE was simply down to peoples ignorance of genetics. I now think it’s logical to be cautious about GE for other reasons (belongs in GD).

Meanwhile putting my sensible hat on I’d agree that any salmon is going to be better for you than pork-pies - so - salmon (wild) for lunch today (that makes up for having a pie yesterday yes?)

The way salmon is farmed creeps me out, and there are major environmental problems with farming it. However, both wild and farmed salmon are contaminated to some degree with mercury and industrial chemicals, and to what extent depends a lot on where it’s from. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Scottish farmed salmon is particularly bad; salmon from Chile and Washington State are a better bet.

However, they pointed out that the cancer risks associated with salmon, which are real, are by far outweighed by the heart-protective effects of it. They provided a statistical illustration: the recommended maximum consumption of various types of salmon would raise your risk of cancer by one in 100,000, while reducing your risk of heart attack by many, many times that. So even the worst salmon is probably, from a health standpoint if not an environmental one, pretty good for you.

I got this from the latest Nutrition Action newsletter; sorry I can’t give more detailed information but I don’t have it with me at the moment.

Ok, another question. If I grill salmon, with the oils (ALA, EPA, DHA) go rancid. I heard that w3 fats become unstable under heat.