Salmon: Wild Caught, Farm Raised, and Something In-Between

After I learned some reasons to avoid eating farm raised salmon, I’d ask at a restaurant before deciding whether or not to order it.

“Do you know if the salmon is wild caught?” I’d ask.

I’d get answers like, “Probably,” “I think so,” “I’m sure it is,” or “I’ll ask the cook.” When I received answers like these, I’d decline to order it.  In my mind, a restaurant serving wild caught salmon would be proud of it and the workers would know.

Answers like, “I’m sure it is,” one can tell is a guess.  Even if the wait staff asks the cook, the cook could be guessing as well.  I love salmon but farm raised have high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).  In addition, they’re given chemicals for color, as well as antibiotics, and live in crowded areas which limit movement and are disease prone.  Their lack of wild diet also means fewer omega 3s.

Then, I had an awful revelation after purchasing some “Wild Nova Salmon” at a supermarket.  The brand was VitaⓇ and the package boasted an “excellent source” of omega 3.  Now this was also sliced and smoked.

Yet, when I opened the package, the unusually red color gave me pause.  Although I’d been charmed by the words and design on the front, only now did I read the ingredients listed on the side of the 3 oz. package:

“Salmon, salt, sugar, natural smoke flavor, sodium nitrite (added as a preservative), yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40.”

So, four artificial chemicals added to the wild salmon.  I didn’t eat it.