2018 Update: while a 2015 study revealed that up to 43 percent of salmon labeled “wild,” is actually farmed salmon., we’ve discovered that this “seafood fraud” continues to this day. A 2017-2018 update from Oceana Canada revealed that this type of fraud is still alive and well and is big news in Canada.
We found fewer reports in the U.S. however, the latest 2018 tracking report from the Food and Drug Administration found the same ongoing fraud continues. And, current new’s reporting continues to find major fraud in all sorts of seafood coming from China’s processing plants which is in keeping with their poor record of everything from seafood fraud to melamine in milk and plastics in seafood.
The original 2015 study, by Kimberly Warner, Ph.D., involved testing 82 salmon samples collected from restaurants and grocery stores during the winter of 2013-2014. Results showed that farmed Atlantic salmon was being sold as wild-caught salmon, while some samples showed that certain lower-value species were being sold with higher-value species labels, such as Chinook!
This was disturbing news for eco-conscious consumers, who are trying to do the right thing but end up supporting salmon farms. For health-conscious persons and those looking to lose weight, even more bad news, farmed salmon has twice the calories and fat of wild, including a higher percentage of saturated fat, may contain more chemicals and preservatives, including food coloring agents to give the salmon its pink color and might have even been raised on GMO fish chow.
How do these companies get away with this bait and switch? The U.S. exports roughly 70 percent of its wild salmon (often to China!), since it’s cheaper to process out of the country. When it’s shipped back in, there is no system to track the origin of the salmon. In fact, imports back into the U.S. accounted for 78 percent of the 4.7 billion pounds of seafood Americans consumed last year, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
What’s the best way to avoid buying this imposter? Buy your salmon in season between May and September. In season, only 7% of salmon is mislabeled. In the winter months, that small number skyrocketed!
Author, Emily Monaco is a food lover living and writing in Paris. Her first brushes with green living came after reading Michael Pollan’s article on the mistreatment of cattle, an article that led to her immediate conversion to vegetarianism. After a year of living without meat, she decided it was more important to eat the right kind of meat, and lo and behold, another organic home chef was born. Emily’s interests lie in the French tradition of eating local without even knowing it and translating these second-nature habits to the American kitchen — from growing friendly with your market vendors to exploring recipe possibilities to make seasonal fruits and veggies exciting every day. You can find her recipes and food-related ramblings on her blog, Tomato Kumato, and you can follow her on Twitter @emiglia.
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