Wild Salmon Health & Nutrition Information
Wild Alaskan Salmon rich in omega 3 oils is a great way to start your salmon diet.

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Omega 3 oils in Wild Salmon Vs. Farmed Salmon ... Health & Taste Issues.
People often call us to ask our opinion on Wild Salmon versus farmed salmon.  Basically, they want to know if the horrible things they hear about farmed salmon are true .... the answer is YES, unfortunately, farmed salmon has many adverse health effects, and as far as taste is concerned, farmed salmon can't compete with Wild Alaskan run salmon!

Many health conscious consumers have added wild salmon to there diets, and the nutritional information speaks for itself. Read about the benefits that natural run Alaskan wild salmon contain, including the recorded levels of Omega 3 oils, the heart healthy wonder found in high concentration inside Alaskan King Salmon. We have many Wild Salmon Recipes online ... give it a try!

First, farmed salmon usually has dye added to it to improve the looks of the product. Even with the coloring, the product doesn't look as good as Wild Salmon. Furthermore, these colorings come with recently documented cancer causing agents. These dyes have zero health benefits, and have no other purpose than to fool you, the consumer, into thinking the product is rich in flavor ... Don't believe the hype! Also, one of the true health benefits of salmon is not as concentrated in farmed salmon. That benefit is called Omega 3 oil. These oils have been scientifically proven to have the highest concentrations in Wild Alaskan King Salmon, and is also prominent is Wild Sockeye & Coho. The Alaskan salmon runs are fish that live as nature intended them to live, in cold, deep water, returning every year to the pristine rivers in Alaska's remote wilderness to spawn.

PCBs in farmed salmon (information obtained from the (EWG - "Environmental Working Group"). See the latest legal challenges to Farmed Salmon Disclosure.

Seven of ten farmed salmon purchased at grocery stores in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that raise health concerns, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group.

These first-ever tests of farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores show that farmed salmon are likely the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply. On average farmed salmon have 16 times the dioxin-like PCBs found in wild salmon, 4 times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the dioxin-like PCBs found in other seafood. The levels found in these tests track previous studies of farmed salmon contamination by scientists from Canada, Ireland, and the U.K. In total, these studies support the conclusion that American consumers nationwide are exposed to elevated PCB levels by eating farmed salmon.

informational graphic

PCBs are persistent, cancer-causing chemicals that were banned in the United States in 1976 and are among the “dirty dozen” toxic chemicals slated for global phase-out under the United Nations Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, signed by President Bush on May 23, 2001. Because of their persistence, PCBs continue to contaminate the environment and the food supply.

A number of studies show that farmed salmon accumulate PCBs from the fishmeal they are fed. The feed is often designed to have high amounts of fish oil and is made largely from ground-up small fish. PCBs concentrate in oils and fat, and previous tests of salmon feed have consistently found PCB contamination.

If farmed salmon with the average PCB level found in this study were caught in the wild, EPA advice would restrict consumption to no more than one meal a month. But because farmed salmon are bought, not caught, their consumption is not restricted in any way.

This is because the EPA sets health guidance levels for PCBs in wild-caught salmon, and its standards, which were updated in 1999 to reflect the most recent peer-reviewed science, are 500 times more protective than the PCB limits applied by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commercially-sold fish. The FDA has not updated its PCB health limit for commercial seafood since it was originally issued in 1984. In the intervening two decades new scientific research has shown that the PCBs that build up in fish and people are more potent cancer-causing agents than originally believed, and that they present other health risks as well, in particular neurodevelopmental risks to unborn children from maternal consumption of PCB-contaminated fish.

When the FDA’s standard was developed, salmon was something of a rarity in the U.S. diet. Today it is standard fare at home and in restaurants, particularly among consumers who are health-conscious, well educated, and relatively affluent. Last year salmon overtook “fish sticks” as the third most popular seafood in the American diet (trailing only tuna and shrimp). The increased consumption was made possible by the explosive growth in salmon farming, an industrial system that produces the fish in vast quantities at a price far lower than wild salmon.

Seven of the farmed salmon we tested came from factory-scale farms in Canada, the U.S., and Iceland. Six of these seven were polluted with PCBs at levels that would be safe to eat no more than once a month, according to EPA health standards. About 23 million Americans eat salmon more than once a month, the majority of it farmed salmon. One salmon imported from Scotland contained PCBs at levels so high that EPA would restrict consumption to no more than six meals a year, if the salmon were caught, not bought.

The farmed salmon industry claims that both farmed and wild salmon can be eaten safely more than once a week. This claim relies on FDA’s outdated contamination limit. In EWG’s testing program, nine of 10 farmed salmon tested from five countries of origin failed EPA’s health-based limits for weekly consumption (6000 parts per trillion), exceeding the standard by an average of 4.5 times. A pilot study published by Canadian scientists last year showed that farmed Canadian salmon contain ten times the PCBs of wild Alaskan and Canadian salmon.

EWG’s analysis of seafood industry fish consumption data shows that one quarter of all adult Americans (52 million people) eat salmon, and about 23 million of them eat salmon more often than once a month. Based on these data we estimate that 800,000 people face an excess lifetime cancer risk of more than one in 10,000 from eating farmed salmon, and 10.4 million people face a cancer risk exceeding one in 100,000. The government's preferred level of increased risk from contaminants like PCBs is no more than one in one million, a threshold set to account for a regulatory system that addresses chemicals or chemical classes individually and is unable to set safe levels for the complex mixtures of hundreds of industrial chemicals to which people are exposed.

Recommendations

Six of every ten salmon sold in stores and restaurants are raised in high-density fish pens in the ocean, managed and marketed by the salmon farming industry. These fish are eaten by a quarter of all adults in the U.S. and experts predict that the exponential growth of the farmed salmon industry will continue.

Farm-raised fish are here to stay. If raised correctly, these fish can help meet global demand for high-quality protein and take some of the pressure off of highly depleted populations of wild fish. But major reforms to the industry are needed.

In addition to the well documented ecological problems with salmon farming, there is now compelling evidence of near industry-wide contamination with unacceptably high levels of PCBs.

To remedy this problem, we recommend that:

  • Congress pass a funding increase for FDA to support testing of farmed salmon and other protein sources for PCBs.
  • The Food and Drug Administration move quickly to conduct a definitive study of PCB contamination in farmed salmon, and make all results public. This testing is critical, because FDA will be unable to update its regulation on PCBs in farmed salmon until the agency conducts its own laboratory studies.
  • The FDA issue a PCB health advisory for seafood consumption in line with current PCB health guidance issued by the EPA.
  • Policy-makers do more to preserve salmon habitat in Alaska, where, preliminary indications are, fish are naturally low in PCB contamination.
  • The salmon farming industry monitor salmon feed for PCB contamination and shift or refine feed sources to produce fish lower in PCBs and other pollutants.

What you can do

To reduce your exposure to PCBs, trim fat from fish before cooking. Also, choose broiling, baking, or grilling over frying, as these cooking methods allow the PCB-laden fat to cook off the fish. When possible, choose wild and canned Alaskan salmon instead of farmed, and eat farmed salmon no more than once a month.

Wild versus farmed

Standard fish farming practices, which include the use of contaminated fishmeal and the intentional fattening of farmed stock, create a cascade of problems that ultimately drive down the nutrient content of farmed salmon, and drive up the contamination levels relative to wild-caught salmon.

Farmed salmon are fed contaminated fishmeal. Farmed salmon are fed from a global supply of fishmeal and fish oil manufactured from small open sea fish, which studies show are the source of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in most farmed salmon. In three independent studies scientists tested 37 fishmeal samples from six countries, and found PCB contamination in nearly every sample (Jacobs 2002, Easton 2002, and CFIA 1999).

After testing fishmeal and fish oil, a team of U.K. scientists noted that “While diets based on marine fish oils are currently favored by the aquaculture industry, it is likely that these oils are contributing greatly to the contamination of farmed salmon by [persistent organic pollutants]” (Jacobs 2002b).

PCBs build up in salmon at 20 to 30 times the levels in their environment and their feed (Jackson et. al 2001), so even low concentrations of PCBs in fishmeal can become a concern for human health.

An expert food safety panel recently convened by the National Academy of Sciences noted that because of the “intensive management approach” of the aquaculture industry, PCBs in fishmeal can accumulate in fish tissues. The panel recommended that the government restrict the use of feed obtained from areas known to have high pollution levels (NAS 2003). Wild Alaskan salmon eat Pacific Ocean fish that the Academy scientists note are naturally lower in persistent pollutants.

Farmed salmon are intentionally fattened and can therefore accumulate more PCBs. The salmon farming industry intentionally fattens its fish to maximize market weight (Jacobs 2002), a process similar to fattening cows or hogs in a feed lot. As a result, an ounce of farmed salmon contains 52 percent more fat than an ounce of wild salmon, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA 2002). PCBs collect in fat, as opposed to muscle or other organs. Farmed salmon, because they are intentionally fattened, are efficient collectors of PCBs. Leaner, wild Alaskan salmon are less likely to accumulate high levels of PCBs.

Farmed salmon contains five to 10 times the PCBs of wild salmon. EWG’s tests confirm findings from three prior, independent studies in which scientists observed differences in contaminant levels between farmed and wild salmon. The average level of total PCBs in EWG's ten farmed salmon samples was 27.3 ppb, or 5.2 times higher than the average PCB level of 5.3 ppb in four wild salmon tested by Canadian scientists (Easton et al. 2002). Differences in the 12 dioxin-like PCBs appear to be even greater. In Ireland, Scotland, British Columbia, and Alaska studies show higher concentrations of dioxin-like PCBs in farmed salmon than in wild salmon (Easton et al. 2002, FSIA 2002a and 2002b, Axys 2003, and Jacob et al. 2002). In most of these cases, wild salmon were harvested from environments relatively free of industrial pollution. Farmed fish raised in these same environments ate fishmeal with higher levels of PCBs than the native fish consumed by wild salmon (Figure).

informational graphic

Farmed salmon contains higher levels of many other persistent pollutants. An influential study published last year showed that PCBs are just one family in a complex mixture of persistent pollutants that appear to concentrate in farmed salmon. The Canadian scientists found that farmed salmon tissue contained significantly higher levels of 151 out of the 158 chemical contaminants that were detected in both farmed and wild salmon samples (Easton et al. 2002). In addition to 110 different PCBs, these chemicals included brominated flame retardants, organochlorine pesticides like DDT and dieldrin, and carcinogenic combustion byproducts called polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). While PCBs may dominate human health risks from farmed salmon, many other contaminants contribute to the overall health concerns associated with these fish.

Farmed salmon may contain two to 40 times more PCBs than any other major protein source. An analysis of data from studies on dioxin-like PCBs in commercial seafood, beef, pork, milk, and poultry shows that farmed salmon may be more contaminated than any other protein source in the U.S. (NAS 2003, EPA 2002, Fiedler et al 2000). On average, farmed salmon from EWG’s supermarket study contained 40 times more PCBs than milk, 4 times the PCB levels of beef, and at least 3.4 times the PCB levels of other commercial seafood.

In their recent review of human exposures to dioxins and certain PCBs, an expert panel of the National Academy of Sciences noted that “it is in the public’s best interest for the government to develop a strategic action plan that includes interim steps to reduce exposures as long as the steps do not lead to undesirable consequences to human health,” and further recommended that the government focus on reducing exposures for girls and young women in the years well before pregnancy, since some PCBs are linked to brain damage and immune deficiencies for exposures in utero and in early childhood (NAS 2003). Although the Academy specifically recommends drinking skim instead of whole milk, even greater reductions of PCB exposures would be realized if women who eat farmed salmon ate wild salmon instead.

The fat in farmed salmon contains less healthy omega-3 fatty acids than the fat in wild salmon. Salmon fat is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential nutrients important to fetal brain development and linked to reductions in the occurrence or symptoms of autoimmune disease, headaches, cramps, arthritis, other inflammatory diseases, hardening of the arteries, Alzheimer's disease, and heart attacks. But USDA testing data show that the fat of farmed salmon contains an average of 35 percent less omega-3 fatty acids (USDA 2002).

informational graphic
Because farmed salmon contain 52% more total fat than wild salmon, the total omega-3 fatty acid content of farmed and wild fish is similar. However, in the case of farmed salmon, the fat is contaminated with PCBs and over 100 other pollutants and pesticides. Frequent farmed salmon eaters may exceed government health limits for these pollutants, which are linked to immune system damage, fetal brain damage, and cancer (Easton et al. 2002).


References

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). 1999. Summary report of contaminant results in fish feed, fishmeal and fish oil. Accessed online July 21, 2003 at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/feebet/dioxe.shtml.
  • Easton MD, Luszniak D, Von der GE. Preliminary examination of contaminant loadings in farmed salmon, wild salmon and commercial salmon feed. Chemosphere. 2002 Feb;46(7):1053-74.
  • Fiedler H, Cooper K, Bergek S, Hjelt M, Rappe C, Bonner M, Howell F, Willett K, Safe S. PCDD, PCDF, and PCB in farm-raised catfish from southeast United States--concentrations, sources, and CYP1A induction. Chemosphere. 1998 Oct-Nov;37(9-12):1645-56.
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). 2002a. Summary of investigation of dioxins, furans, and PCBs in farmed salmon, wild salmon, farmed trout and fish oil capsules. March 2002. Accessed online July 21, 2003 at http://www.fsai.ie/industry/Dioxins3.htm.
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). 2002b. Investigation on PCDDs/PCDFs and several PCBs in fish samples (salmon and trout). Analysis and report provided by ERGO Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Germany. Accessed online July 21, 2003 at http://www.fsai.ie/industry/Fishoilreport.pdf.
  • Jackson LJ, Carpenter SR, Manchester-Neesvig J, Stow CA..PCB congeners in Lake Michigan coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) salmon. Environ Sci Technol. 2001 Mar 1;35(5):856-62.
  • Jacobs M, Ferrario J, Byrne C. 2002a. Investigation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzo-p-furans and selected coplanar biphenyls in Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Chemosphere. 2002 Apr;47(2):183-91.
  • Jacobs MN, Covaci A, Schepens P. 2002b. Investigation of selected persistent organic pollutants in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), salmon aquaculture feed, and fish oil components of the feed. Environ Sci Technol. 2002 Jul 1;36(13):2797-805.
  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS). 2003. Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in the food supply: Strategies to decrease exposure. NAS Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, Committee on the Implications of Dioxin in the Food Supply. The National Academies Press. Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2002. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.

 

Wild Salmon Diet Information & Facts
Our thanks goes to the ASMI, for information used on this page
Modern science has provided evidence which suggests that fish consumption is an important part of a healthy diet because it can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. A classic study of Greenland Eskimos showed that a high consumption of fish resulted in a low incidence of coronary heart disease and cancer.

Subsequently, other population studies confirmed these protective findings and showed that fish-eating populations other than Eskimos had less cardiovascular disease than did those who consumed meat-based diets. One of these studies focused on Japan, which incidentally now boasts the longest life expectancy: 77 years for men, and 83 years for women. This longevity may be related to high fish intake.

The protective role of fish against heart disease and cancer may be attributed to the type of oil found in certain species of coldwater fish, especially Alaska salmon. These fish oils, referred to as “Omega-3”, are polyunsaturated. Their chemical structure and metabolic function are quite different from the polyunsaturated oils found in vegetable oils, known as “Omega-6”.

The type of dietary fat (monounsaturated, saturated, or polyunsaturated) we consume alters the production of a group of biological compounds known as eicosanoids (prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes). These eicosanoids have biological influences on blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, immune function, and coronary spasms. In the case of Omega-3 oils, a series of eicosanoids are produced, which may result in a decreased risk of heart disease, inflammatory processes, and certain cancers.

Omega-3 oils also exert additional protective effects against coronary heart disease by:

• decreasing blood lipids (cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins or LDL, and triglycerides)
• decreasing blood clotting factors in the vascular system
• increasing relaxation in larger arteries and other blood vessels
• decreasing inflammatory processes in blood vessels

Additional studies have provided exciting news about the benefits of Omega-3 oils for individuals with arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, lupus erythematosus, asthma, and certain cancers. Research studies have consistently shown that Omega-3 fatty acids delay tumor appearance, and decrease the growth, size, and number of tumors.

A recent study at the University of Washington has confirmed that eating a modest amount of salmon (one salmon meal per week) can reduce the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest claims the lives of 250,000 Americans each year. Fresh, fresh-frozen, or canned Alaska sockeye salmon provides the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of any fish — 2.7 grams per 100 gram portion.

Other studies, such as the Zupthen Study, a 20-year investigation of a Dutch population, confirmed similar benefits. The risk of coronary heart disease decreased (as much as 2.5 times) with increasing fish consumption. This suggests that moderate amounts (one to two servings per week) of fish are of value in the prevention of coronary heart disease, when compared with no fish intake.

The type of dietary fat we consume is very important. It has been well documented that saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. The amount of saturated fat in both high-oil fish and lean fish is minimal. Fish, and other seafood, also offers lean, high-quality protein, as well as many other important vitamins and minerals.

Salmon is also a good source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants, which also include Vitamin C and beta carotene, act at the molecular level to deactivate free radicals. Free radicals can damage basic genetic material, and cell walls and structures, to eventually lead to cancer and heart disease. Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart disease by preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), thus reducing the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. Other research has found that Vitamin E plays a protective role against cancer and the formation of cataracts, and may possibly boost the immune system in the elderly. Salmon contains zero grams of carbohydrate.

VALUES FOR ALASKA SALMON - 3 oz. (85 g) cooked, edible portion

  Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Cholesterol (mg)*
KING (Chinook) 196-200 21-22 11-11.5 3 50-55 70-75
SOCKEYE (Red) 180-190 23-24 9-9.5 1.5 50-55 60-70
COHO (Silver) 157-165 23-24 6-7 1-2 45-55 40-49
CHUM (Keta) 130-135 22-23 4 1 50-55 80-85
PINK 130-131 22 4 .5-1 57-75 55-81


VALUES FOR ALASKA CANNED SALMON - 1/4 cup serving size (63 g approximately)

  Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Saturated Fat (g) Sodium (mg) Cholesterol (mg)*
SOCKEYE (Red) 90-110 13 4-7 1.2-1.5 228-270 27-40
PINK 86-90 12-13 4-5 1 270-346 35-40

*The National Cholesterol Education Program of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends a diet that includes no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.

**Order wild salmon online and get free overnight shipping. Wild Alaskan Salmon shipped direct from the best source in the world ... the Wild Alaska Salmon Run.

REFERENCE SOURCES:
Release 10 USDA #15210, 1992
Release 10 USDA #15211, 1992
USDA Handbook #8, 1987
Nestlé Foods, April 1994
Sidwell, V.D. 1981 Chemical and Nutritional Composition of Finfishes, Whales, Crustaceans, Mollusks, and their Products.
NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS Charleston, U.S. Department of Commerce
Nettleton, J.A. 1983 Seafood Nutrition: Facts, Issues, and Marketing of Nutrition in Fish and Shellfish. Huntington: Osprey Books
Pennington, J. 1989 Food Values of Portions Commonly Used (15th edition). New York: Harper & Row
Exler, J. 1987 Composition of Foods: Finfish and Shellfish Products (Raw, Processed, Per Pound). Washington DC:
Human Nutrition Information Service, USDA Handbook 8-15

 

 

Steroids are another issue for concern in farmed salmon, as this affect the health benefits & ultimately results in an inferior product, which is discussed below.

 

As far as taste is concerned, there is no comparison. Wild salmon has a much better texture, and the meat does not get the "fishy" smell and taste that farmed salmon is known to have. The farmed products can be compared to chickens, in that the meat is not as well developed, and the fact that the animals are kept confined, in an unnatural state, reflects in the taste at your dinner table or backyard BBQ.  Beyond the obvious health issues, if you are a salmon lover, Wild Alaskan Salmon will give you a taste that can't be beat!

Wild-King-Salmon.Com sells only the finest, hand selected Salmon available on the market. Even in the winter, when the runs have closed, the high tech flash frozen product you receive from us will be guaranteed to be he best salmon you have ever tasted. You may ask "How can that be?" ... well it all has to do with the way the product is processed and handled. At the end of the season, our product id hand fillets into 1 lb. portions, and vacuum sealed inside heavy, clear freezer bags (we want you to sea our product ... nothing to hide here!). It is then Flash frozen and kept in our high tech frost free freezers in Alaska, where it stays frozen until we send it to you, the consumer. Most state side salmon travels a torturous supply chain, where the product thaws, re-freezes, thaws, re-freezes through distributors and finally to the stores where you would purchase it. Buying direct from Alaska should be every connoisseurs choice.

To give our product a try, see our specials page, where we have a variety of Wild Salmon Packs that we will ship overnight from the Alaska Wild Peninsula in Alaska, straight to your door. The best pat, besides the superior health benefits and untouchable taste .... shipping is free! 

 

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