Quick, what do farmed salmon and gruel have in common?
Answer: They are both, in their natural state, gray.
The flesh of wild salmon is orange or red because wild fish eat krill and shrimp, picking up organic pigments along the way. Farmed salmon, meanwhile, eat pellets that are often comprised of other fish. (Pellets also frequently include fat, soy, corn material and, believe it or not, ground up feathers).
Farms add the pigment astaxanthin (the same thing found in shrimp) to their pellets. It’s an additional expense, but the alternative would be shipping a fleet of slate-gray fillets to supermarkets across the country.
And no one would buy that.
Now, salmon is good for you no matter how you get it, but here’s a couple things you should keep in mind:
— Multiple studies in the 2000s found that farmed salmon have higher levels of toxic, man-made chemicals than wild salmon (neither type of fish had dangerous amounts).
— According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, fishery scientists found that salmon farms greatly increased the presence of parasites known as sea lice in wild salmon, a type of parasite that is potentially deadly for young salmon.
— In salmon farms, water pollution from fish excrement and leftover feed is common.
While keeping those facts in mind, remember one more thing: Wild salmon tastes great.
When it comes to fish, you get what you pay for.
— Ketchikan Daily News,