I was at Whole Foods Market (WFM) last night. It was the grand-opening day. Kind of embarrassing to admit such a thing would get me going, but it did. Finally, one opened in Connecticut near enough to me where it might actually be a realistic shopping option.
I do support our local stores, of course, but I WISH they had sustainable/organic fish and meat! East Coast health food stores seem to have been started by vegetarians in the ’60s and ’70s. (I know this because my first job was at the amazing, but meat-free Willimantic Food Coop when I was 14. My mom paid me to work our allotted time. I ate a lotta carob pecan crunch during our allotted time…that’s what I remember of it, anyway.
Anyhow, I was at the Whole Foods Market. My Mom, joining me on this grand-opening day, brought me a yummy little piece of salmon teriyaki. “Mom,” I asked, “is it wild-caught?” She didn’t know. It’s a big issue for me, for us, for everyone eating fish. Why? Because farm-raised salmon (aka Atlantic salmon) is ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST TOXIC FOODS! Ouch!
PCBs in meats and salmon:
As I approached the fish market at the WFM, I noticed that it was indeed farm-raised. Ugh. And then I noticed that the farm-raised salmon farmer was standing there. “Did you know that farm-raised salmon is not so good?” I asked.
My Mom said, “You just told me it’s the world’s most toxic food!”
“OK.” I said to him. “It’s bad. In fact, I consult for a laboratory that measure toxins in humans, including PCBs, which are horribly elevated in farmed salmon. The CEO had high PCB levels, higher than anyone else in the lab. The culprit seemed to be the morning farm-raised salmon bagel habit he’d developed.”
“Hmmmmm. Can I get back to you on that?” the farm-raised salmon farmer asked. “Yes. Please do.”
And, to his credit, he did promptly. He emailed me a detailed 23-page document “WFM Seafood Quality Standards for Farm Raised Salmon.”
Here are a couple of points I found interesting:
Antibiotics, parasiticides, hormones, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), are prohibited in feed.
Stringent water and food quality guidelines:
All farmed salmon must contain at least 1,820 mg of combined EPA and DHA per eight ounce piece of uncooked salmon.
Maximum allowable contaminant levels (including PCBs and mercury) are set by WHO–2.16pg/g TEQ (toxic equivalent). The above figure suggests some farm-raised salmon clocks in up to 55pg/g.
While I still prefer wild-caught salmon, appropriately farm-raised salmon may actually be a viable and necessary option. We’ll call it green salmon.