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Risk/benefit analysis of farmed versus wild salmon

tish) farmed salmon showing the highest levels, careful consumers with a history of heart disease could choose farmed salmon from Chile for their high omega-3 content and relatively lower level of contaminants." She noted that farmed salmon from North America would be a better second choice than European farmed salmon.

The researchers' benefit-risk analysis showed that consumers should not eat farmed fish from Scotland, Norway and eastern Canada more than three times a year; farmed fish from Maine, western Canada and Washington state no more than three to six times a year; and farmed fish from Chile no more than about six times a year. Wild chum salmon can be consumed safely as often as once a week, pink salmon, Sockeye and Coho about twice a month and Chinook just under once a month.

In a study published last spring (Environmental Health Perspectives, May 2005), the research team reported that the levels of chlorinated pesticides, dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants are up to 10 times greater in farm-raised salmon than in wild Pacific salmon, and that salmon farmed in Europe are more contaminated than salmon from South and North American farms.

The team also published a study this fall (Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 39:8622) that found that farmed salmon, on average, contain roughly two to three times more beneficial fatty acids than wild salmon, presumably because of the differences in the diet on which the fish are raised.

"Our results also support the need for policy and regulatory efforts to limit pollution of our waters and clean up pollution that has occurred, and thus ultimately reduce the risk side of this equation by reducing the potential for human exposure to these contaminants," said Knuth, adding that the country of origin of fish sold should be clearly labeled so consumers can make informed decisions.


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Contact: Joseph Schwartz
bjs54@cornell.edu
607-254-6235
Cornell University News Service
23-Dec-2005


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