Why you should NEVER eat farmed salmon

NB, Whole Foods stopped selling wild salmon when Jeff Bezos took it over.


The facts about farmed salmon you wish you didn’t know

Canadian farm-raised salmon filets are placed on a tray in a store in Fairfax, Va., in 2015. (Alex Brandon | Associated Press [2015])
Canadian farm-raised salmon filets are placed on a tray in a store in Fairfax, Va., in 2015.
(Alex Brandon | Associated Press [2015])

Laura Reiley
Times food critic
Published: March 21, 2018
Updated: March 21, 2018 at 11:06 AM

A couple years ago, salmon passed tuna as the most popular fish in the United States. Our doctors have told us to eat more of it; our fitness and diet regimens have put it in heavy menu rotation.

The problem is not all salmon is created equal. More than 90 percent of the fresh salmon eaten in this country comes from giant fish farms, and those farms have problems. Big ones. Here are the facts about America’s favorite fish that you should know but perhaps wish you didn’t.

A DIFFERENT WAY: Clearwater’s Sixty South Salmon aims to change the world with its super premium farmed salmon

  • Large-scale salmon farms in the United States, Canada, Scotland, Norway and Chile have attracted hideous marine insects called sea lice that attach themselves to the fish, causing skin lesions and secondary infections, killing the host or rendering meat inedible. The damage these lice have inflicted has caused salmon prices to soar in the past 18 months. To get rid of these parasites, farmers doctor their feed with a pesticide called Slice, or emamectin benzoate, which causes tremors, spinal deterioration and muscle atrophy when administered to rats and dogs.
  • Large salmon farms also use high levels of antibiotics to treat bacteria that cause lesions and hemorrhaging in infected fish. Why is that bad? Overuse of antibiotics, either in farming or for human medical treatment, speeds up the development of antibiotic resistance.
  • Farmed salmon are fed pellets made out of fish oil and smaller fish, ground-up chicken featherspoultry litter (yes, that’s poop), genetically modified yeastsoybeans and chicken fat.
  • Wild salmon get its lovely rose color from eating krill and shrimp. Farmed salmon, because it eats those pellets, is grey. To make it more appetizing to consumers, farmers add dyes to their feed.

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