Something is fishy about the farmed salmon being labeled as “organic” in your supermarket. When most people see the organic label, they think of a superior product to conventionally raised varieties, from a health, environmental and animal welfare perspective.
In reality, there is not much difference between conventional farm-raised salmon and its organic counterpart.
- Both are raised in cages. Whereas conventional salmon cages contain up to 70,000 fish, organic cages contain up to 30,000.
- Organic fish farmers use coloring on juvenile fish (in the form of phaffia, a processed yeast that contains high levels of astaxanthin — the same coloring used by conventional farmers).
- Organic farmers feed both natural and synthetic vitamins and minerals, along with “binders” such as wheat flour.
- Organic farmers use as many of the same chemicals as conventional farmers as they want. These include pesticide-based anti-sea lice treatments, which have been shown to adversely impact sea creatures and the marine ecosystem, veterinary medicines, and chlorine-based Chloramine-T and formalin, which are used to prevent fungal growth.
- Organic salmon are slaughtered at 2.5 years old, whereas conventional salmon are slaughtered at 2 years old. Wild salmon, however, can live for up to 16 years.
Sources:Observer Food Monthly November 22, 2007
Editor’s Note: If you are looking for healthy salmon beware that the organic label is not a green light that your fish is healthy. You are only getting at best a slightly better product by choosing organic farmed salmon over regular farmed salmon. The best source of healthy fish remains products labeled as “wild salmon”. We find many national and regional chains offer frozen wild salmon at very reasonable prices. One in particular which opperates in most western cities and is expanding into the south and east coast is my favorite, Trader Joes, where the section and prices are great!
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