Medical Are farm raised salmon bad for you?

  1. I sometimes hear claims like the one in this article that say farm raised salmon (or farm raised fish of any kind) are bad for you because, among other things, they accumulate toxic contaminants. I am really skeptical, in no small part because of all the organicist FUD that's gotten into nutrition in general. So that leaves the question, is this a bunch of nonsense to be debunked or is there any truth to it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Odd, I've never seen farm raised salmon.

    Checking for studies of farm raised salmon, I found one that claims they are higher in toxins. And that woman recommends eating albacore tuna, which is much higher in mercury than the less expensive light tuna, which is much tastier.
  4. jim mcnamara

    jim mcnamara 1,565
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This paper deals solely with dioxin contamination.

    This is a risk analysis of salmon consumption. IMO, Two points: for younger people and pregnant women salmon intake should be restricted. For people with coronary disease the risks fall heavily in favor of eating more salmon - and because the fatty acids in farm raised are higher, farm raised is okay.

    All salmon has some levels of toxins.

    Wild has toxins, farm raised has more.

    For farm-raised a toxin level profile spectrum of more to less depending on the country of origin: Scotland.. Atlantic Canada.. Irleand.. Maine.. Pacific NW.
  5. Monique

    Monique 4,445
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Farm raised salmon is common, strange that you've not encountered it Evo. Definitely consumption of fish should take into account toxins, especially in large predatory fish (who accumulate toxins faster, because they consume fish that have already accumulated the toxins). Not sure about the difference between farm-raised and free fish, haven't seen studies on it. Definitely there was a warning recently that Swedish salmon contained intolerable amounts of toxins, but the Norwegian fish was within the limits. Clearly it depends on where the farms are and what the fish are fed.
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    We don't get much fish here, so all I've seen is wild, usually Alaskan and it's frozen or thawed, don't ask me why they sell thawed fish, I guess some people think it's fresh, oh and canned, but that also claims to be wild. I guess areas with a larger fish market would have both kinds. Other types of fish say farmed, like tilapia and catfish.

    The largest study is in that link I posted.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2013
  7. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    In Maine, farm-raised Atlantic salmon is the norm. They are raised in floating pens all over the coast. I have no idea how their toxins compare to wild-caught salmon, but the Inland Fisheries and game department advise children and women of child-bearing age to strictly limit their consumption of wild-caught salmon. Unfortunately, Maine is downwind from some pretty heavy polluters in the Midwest, so heavy metals build up in our rivers and streams.
  8. By their position in the food chain, farm raised fish have the propensity to accumulate heavy metals and any other non soluble contaminates. It all depends upon up how clean their environment was that they lived in if they do or do not. If the fish were literally raised in a pond of some sort, the limited environment will tend to accumulate undesirable things because a fish's own biological processes of ingesting and then naturally ridding of these tend to increase the concentration as it is excreted. Eventually some stays behind in fat, etc and builds up.

    In the ocean this does not happen as the vast expanse of the water quickly dilutes the excreted contaminate to miniscule levels. As for farm raised, it would basically depend on how often the water is changed out, etc on a case by case basis as to guesstimate if a particular fish is likely to be building up levels of toxic material in its tissue. This will not typically affect the fish, as their lifespan (natural or when harvested) is sufficiently short to build the contamination to toxic levels.

    Eating a lot of tainted fish just concentrates things further higher up on the food chain within yourself and that could be toxic at some biological level. Occasionally eating a mildly contaminated fish is not likely to result in self contamination build up to negative levels, otherwise the fish would not be considered safe to eat at all.
  9. turbo

    turbo 7,063
    Gold Member

    (my bold) Farmed salmon in Maine is raised in floating pens in the Atlantic. We have some pretty good tides, so essentially the water is changed out twice per day. Depending on the materials and shape of the bottom, there is probably some excreta and uneaten food that is not removed effectively by the tides, but we have bottom-feeders (think crabs, lobsters, etc) to help with that. Children and women of child-bearing age are warned to severely limit the consumption of wild-caught salmon from our streams and rivers, but there is no such warning for the farmed salmon. When you find Atlantic salmon in our stores, it is certainly farmed in the ocean.
  10. What doesn't make sense to me about this is salmon in general get heavy metals contamination from their food, but aren't the farm raised variety fed processed food that's outside the foodchain?
  11. Borek

    Staff: Mentor

    I believe they are feed with granulated fishmeal - so it is still in the foodchain.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Draft saved Draft deleted
Similar discussions for: Are farm raised salmon bad for you?