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When deciding to eat salmon, there are some choices you will have to make when shopping in the fish market or your local grocery store. You will see: wild salmon and farm-raised salmon. What is the difference, other than the obvious?
The obvious is the fact that wild salmon live in the oceans, streams, rivers, and lakes. Farm raised salmon, by comparison, live in the controlled environments of fish farms.
Of particular concern is the fact that sometimes salmon marked 'wild' in the marketplace are actually farm-raised. It has been found to happen from time to time. Is wild salmon healthier than farm raised salmon? That issue has received much publicity of late. In fact, salmon, have become the topic of political, environmental, and ecological debate.
Farm raised salmon are known to contain PCB's. These PCBs come from two sources: the salmon feed and the fact that farm-raised salmon are bigger/fatter than wild salmon. PCBs are stored in fat and remain there for an extended period of time. This in turn means that farm raised salmon contain more PCBs. PCBs are believed to be linked to certain types of cancer, in case you were wondering what their significance is.
Wild salmon do not contain anywhere near the same amount of PCBs, if any. However, the PCBs from salmon farms are slowly, but surely, entering the waters of wild salmon. Fish absorb PCBs from contaminated sediments and from their food.
Farm-raised salmon is known for being colorful due artificial coloring being added to their meal. The FDA recommends that consumers choose wild salmon instead of farm raised salmon, and that the public should eat an 8 oz serving of farm raised salmon no more than once a month, as farm raised salmon contain higher levels of mercury than wild salmon.
Do not give up on eating farm-raised salmon totally, though. The benefits of eating a heart healthy diet containing them may outweigh the risk of getting cancer from eating them. Trim the skin and visible fat from the farm-raised salmon. PCBs are stored in the fat portion. Prepare your salmon in a heart healthy way such as broiling, grilling, or steaming to reduce a significant portion of fat. Canned salmon usually contains wild salmon. Canned salmon is great in salmon patties and other salmon recipes.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|