Wild Salmon doing her thing. Wild Grizzly doing his thing, too.
I was at the grocery store the other day when I happened upon a new display of frozen "Organic" packages of seafood. Our middle daughter was excited to see that there was now organic seafood.. phew! At last! We can all rest easy, organic fish is pristine and much healthier than the regular stuff. Well, not really. So, I went into another of my mommy-educational-public-service-announcements. My kids love it when I do that.
Seafood, certified as organic, is farmed seafood. Period. In order to gain organic certification, the seafood has to be farmed. How can you certify that something is organic when it's wild? And there in lies the weakness of certifying or labeling food. I would much rather have a wild salmon, caught in the cold ocean waters than eat a farmed salmon that has been fed antibiotics, has lived in a completely unnatural habitat, been given pellets that make its flesh 'appear' to be that beautiful salmony-colour, has less omega 3s than the wild variety, is loaded with PCBs, and contributes parasites, pollution, and lice to the wild salmon stock. Oh, they also feed these penned-up fish a little something called 'fish meal'. Wanna' guess what that's made up of? Well, in part, it's the farmed salmon's wild brethren, wild salmon. Nope, I will not support that practice.
This all has me wondering about fish oils. We supplement with fish oil around these here parts and I trust the source that we get our fish oil from (only wild fish are used). But, it would be worth checking on sources from which any of you are getting your fish oils, especially if they're listed as 'organic'.
The part that's so bothersome about organic seafood is that people choose it because they really think they are doing something proactive. They believe that it's healthier for them and the environment. They pay more for something that delivers less.
Don't be fooled by the fish farming industry's latest attempts at convincing consumers that their product is in someway better than wild salmon. It's marketing, pure and simple. Unfortunately, it's another step in the wrong direction resulting in the watering down of 'organic' certification.>Further reading:
- Environmental Working Group: PCBs in Farmed Salmon
- Desire Fish Company: About farmed fish
- David Suzuki Foundation: Open net cage fish farming
- Chicago Tribune: Organic definition for fish flounders
- New York Times: A seafood snob ponders the future of fish
- Enterprise News: Naturally, a new meaning of organic smells fishy
- InjuryBoard.com: Fish food fight - can salmon be organic?
- InjuryBoard.com: Proposed "organic" standards for fish fail consumer expectations
- The David Suzuki foundation also offers free, downloadable reports on the status of wild salmon in Canada. You can find these reports here, just scroll down to the bottom of the page.