Everything you need to know about farmed salmon: Is it toxic?
-Apr 25, Hannah Hargrave, Nutrition -
When you think of salmon you generally picture a freshly cut, beautifully pink piece of healthy protein, but research is casting the farmed version of this fish in a completely different light.
Salmon is always thought of as being one of the healthiest food choices, packed with omega-3 fats and goodness, so it’s shocking to learn that farmed salmon is actually being branded one of the most toxic foods that you can eat.
An eye-opening documentary by Nicolas Daniels called ‘Fillet Oh Fish’ exposes the grim reality of fish farms across the world.
Is farmed salmon a healthy option?
Producers of the film insist that; “through intensive farming and global pollution, the flesh of the fish we eat has turned into a deadly chemical cocktail.”
One of the many respected experts the film has on board is Norwegian environmental activist Kurt Oddekalv who claims the farming of salmon is “a disaster both for the environment and for human health.”
Since the Norwegian fjords that house so many of these salmon farms is said to be covered in up to 15 meters of waste teaming with bacteria, drugs and pesticides, his beliefs are not entirely unfounded.
Overcrowding in salmon farms leads to fish with terrible deformities
The pollution cannot be contained because the farms are in open water and with more than 2 million salmon held in the crowded spaces Oddekalv says diseases – such as sea lice and anemia virus – spreads rapidly between them.
A separate report also showed that overcrowding often results in fish with “humpbacks” and “bleeding eyes”.
Toxicology researcher Jerome Ruzzin tested a selection of different food groups sold in Norway for toxins and confirmed that farmed salmon contain the greatest amount of toxins of them all, and by a long shot.
This is also down to the fact that toxins accumulate more readily in fat and farmed salmon has a much higher content (14.5 to 34 percent) than wild salmon (5-7 percent).
What causes toxins in farmed salmon?
Surprisingly the main source of the toxic exposure actually comes from the dry pellet feed which has been found to contain pollutants such as dioxins, PCBs – man made organic chemicals – and other drugs and chemicals.
This feed is made from fish – eel in particular – from the highly polluted Baltic sea, so the ingredients themselves often have toxic levels of pollutants, which are then passed onto the farmed salmon.
Should we avoid eating farmed salmon?
While the abundance of terrifying research will likely turn hoards of people off farmed salmon, biologist Dr. Anne Lise Birch Monsen from the University of Bergen warns that eating it could be especially harmful to children and pregnant women.
“I do not recommend pregnant women, children or young people eat farmed salmon,” she says. “It is uncertain in both the amount of toxins salmon contain, and how these drugs affect children, adolescents, and pregnant women.”
Now can someone please pass us the organic vegetables!
If you found this article interesting then you might like to also read why a top British chef is on a mission to fight the obesity epidemic. And discover why strawberries have topped a list called The Dirty 12.