Wed 3 Sep, 2003 05:30 pm
From Netscape News:
If You Love Salmon, This Will Scare You
Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Or is it? The Environmental Working Group has issued a scary report indicating that farm-raised salmon--but not the kind that is fished out of streams and rivers--is contaminated with high levels of cancer-causing chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs, report Reuters and The New York Times.
EWG purchased and tested salmon filets from 10 different grocery stores in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon. Seven of the 10 filets contained high levels of PCBs. "These first-ever tests of farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores show that farmed salmon are likely the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply," the non-profit environmental investigative group said in a prepared statement.
We eat a lot of salmon. About one-quarter of all adult Americans--that would be 52 million people--eat salmon and about 23 million of those eat it more than once a month. "Based on these data we estimate that 800,000 people face an excess lifetime cancer risk...from eating farmed salmon."
EWG found that farmed salmon had 16 times the PCBs found in wild salmon, four times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the levels found in other seafood. The New York Times notes that while the PCB levels in salmon are high, they do not exceed those set in 1984 by the FDA for commercially sold fish; however, they do exceed the guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999 for recreationally caught fish. Although this study by EWG has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, the findings are supported by other studies done in Canada, Ireland, and Britain--all of which has forced the hand of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which will now review the problem.
What are PCBs? They come from hydraulic fluids and oils, electrical capacitors, and transformers. They are carcinogenic because they are endocrine disrupters, which are chemicals that mimic hormones. PCBs can also cause infertility and other sexual changes. Because of this, PCBs have been banned in the United States since 1976 except when they are used in completely enclosed areas. Still, they persist in the environment and animal fat. Farmed salmon are raised in high-density fish pens in what may be a pristine environment, but they are fed fishmeal from around the world. And that fishmeal is contaminated with PCBs. While the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are healthy for us, they also provide a place for the PCBs to build up.
What do the salmon farmers think of all this? An organization called Salmon of the Americas represents 80 salmon farmers in the United States, Canada, and Chile. Its spokesman says that until the farmers hear differently, they'll continue to follow the FDA regulations, rather than the more strict EPA regulations. "We assume they know what they are doing, and the regulations and levels they have promulgated mean that the food, including farmed salmon, is safe, wholesome, and nutritious. EPA and FDA should work their differences out," Alex Trent, acting director of Salmon of the Americas told the Times. "When and if the FDA changes its limits, we will be the first to comply. Someone is yelling fire in a theater to help make their point, and they haven't proven this point to the FDA yet. If they had, they would change their standards."
Based on the results of this study and EPA recommendations, the New York Times advises consumers to eat farmed salmon no more than once a month.
"We assume they know what they are doing"
Everyone I meet in daily life
knows what they are doing.
So they should take care of it just fine,
and "should" is good enough for me.
Just great - breech the dams and send another billion tons of PCBs to the ocean.
Dunno....I only get my salmon from one supplier, a reputable one, and generally I buy wild. I never buy it at a grocery store. I'm not concerned. If salmon is not safe, there are tons of other fish in the sea.
We eat alot of salmon. Letting this all sink in.
They've been talking about a variety of health issues related to salmon on the food boards for the past couple of months. I'm glad I'm not partial to it, but I'm sure they'll find a problem with turkey any moment now.
There's a problem with everything nowadays. The reality is "Choose your poison".
We're having salmon tonight, a pink out of Sekiu, wild-caught by a friend. It's not my most favorite so I'm roasting it in a sauce of reduced soy sauce & preserved ginger.
Mr. P asked me to never buy farmed-salmon again a few months ago. He doesn't really care for salmon anyway and says the farmed fish tastes worse.
Really scary about the PCBs. Aren't they especially bad because it is hard to get them out of your system once they're there... like lead or mercury?
I've only recently noticed the sign on the fresh salmon saying: color added. Never said that before. Would this be the farm raised salmon?
I've been wondering about all the cat foods with salmon in them. It can't be good for those tiny bodies.
The colour-added issue is what I first noticed on the food boards related to salmon - sometime last year. It has something to do with what they feed them.
I've been wondering about that. I'll check out the thread.
From the above article:
"Farmed salmon are raised in high-density fish pens in what may be a pristine environment, but they are fed fishmeal from around the world. And that fishmeal is contaminated with PCBs. While the omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are healthy for us, they also provide a place for the PCBs to build up."
Hmmm, so if they switched the feed....
This is the media blowing things out or proportion as always. Every food has a chance of causing harm because our world is not perfect this is amplified when it is not in a natural nature setting. If I followed every article I read I wouldn't eat at all because there would be no choices left. If you have not noticed it is easy to find 2 articles on the same subject having 2 totally different views. Do your research and know where your food id comming from thats the bottom line.
Did my research. I will not eat farmed salmon.
I think I won't eat farmed salmon til they switch the feed. How many cents is that, anyway, re the price of salmon?
I suppose it would be the certification that would cost money.
I suppose you can trust the market when you buy salmon, but I don't feel secure when ordering in restaurauts. What do you all think?
It's safe to eat it just not often at all.
Living as I do now in the northwest, wild salmon happens. But...I hate to avoid farmed salmon. How bad is it, exactly, vs a BurgerKing special??? No, no, don't tell me.
"Farmed salmon are raised in high-density fish pens in what may be a pristine environment, but they are fed fishmeal from around the world. And that fishmeal is contaminated with PCBs.
The same thing they blame for starting BSE or Mad Cow Disease, feeding
contaminated animal by-products to cattle.
apologies, I just glanced over the previous posts to see if BSE
was referred to.