Salmon is a popular and healthy food choice for many people, but concerns about its safety have been raised in recent years.
With the rise of farmed salmon, questions have been raised about the use of antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals in the production process.
In this article, we will explore the safety of Norwegian salmon in 2022 and whether it is a healthy and sustainable food choice.
We will examine recent studies and outbreaks, as well as the debate surrounding farmed versus wild salmon.
So, if you’re a salmon lover or just curious about the safety of this popular fish, read on to find out more.
Is Norwegian Salmon Safe To Eat 2022?
The short answer is yes, Norwegian salmon is safe to eat in 2022.
According to recent studies, ocean-farmed Norwegian salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids available and is safe to consume. In addition, new disease-fighting techniques, preventative measures, and educated animal husbandry have improved overall fish health and decreased antibiotics use by 97% since 1990.
However, it’s important to note that there have been recent outbreaks of Listeria linked to smoked salmon in Norway. Patients who consumed smoked salmon or smoked trout from a specific producer were affected. The company has since recalled certain batches of their products and taken steps to find the source of the outbreak strain.
While this outbreak is concerning, it’s important to remember that it’s not indicative of all Norwegian salmon. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has stated that the bacteria found in the patients’ samples were from a common source and did not match the outbreak strain found in the recalled products.
The Rise Of Farmed Salmon
Farmed salmon has become a major player in the global food market, with open net pen salmon farming being the fastest growing food sector in the world. Salmon aquaculture accounts for 70% of the market and is responsible for producing 2.5 million metric tons of salmon each year. The industry started on an experimental level in the 1960s, but became an industry in Norway in the 1980s, and in Chile in the 1990s. Today, a handful of multinational corporations dominate the business and produce 96% of the world’s farmed salmon in four regions – Norway, Chile, Canada, and Scotland.
Farmed salmon is a priority commodity for WWF because it has significant potential for negative impact on the places and species we seek to protect. The crowded cages are petri dishes for tiny parasites called sea lice and many viruses that kill farmed fish and endanger wild salmon when currents carry them outside the farms. Massive doses of pesticides, including banned neurotoxins, and antibiotics are deployed against the parasites and pathogens. Some of the residue winds up in the salmon, and some falls to the seabed below the cages.
Despite these challenges, fish farming holds tremendous promise in responding to surging demand for food due to global population growth. The genetic gain for growth-rate in salmon has been estimated at 10-15% per generation, and selection has thus increased growth rates of farmed salmon by several-fold compared to wild conspecifics under hatchery conditions. Salmon consumption worldwide is three times higher than it was in 1980, and current projections indicate that demand for Atlantic salmon will continue to increase at a similar rate as in past years.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to open net pen salmon farming. New technology, called recirculation aquaculture systems, grows fish in closed-containment facilities on land. The fish swim in tanks filled with filtered, recirculated water and never touch the ocean, eliminating the use of chemicals and damage to the environment.
Concerns About Antibiotics And Pesticides
One of the concerns that have been raised about Norwegian salmon is the use of antibiotics and pesticides in fish farming. However, annual studies by the Institute of Marine Research in Norway have shown that no residues of antibiotics, medicines, or illegal substances have ever been found in Norwegian salmon. Last year, only 48 veterinary antibiotic treatment prescriptions were given for Norwegian aquaculture farms, which means that 99% of Norwegian farmed salmon were produced without any antibiotic treatments.
In addition, Swedish researchers have found that levels of pesticides and heavy metals in salmon are so low that they are undetectable in a salmon fillet. While levels of pesticides increased after the amount of vegetable matter in salmon feed was increased, the levels were still considered negligible and did not pose any health risks.
It’s important to note that the use of antibiotics and pesticides in fish farming is a concern worldwide, not just in Norway. However, with innovations around disease prevention and better management practices, the biological and economic health of salmon farming is improving. Farmers are working with scientists and engineers to eliminate escapes, minimize pollution, and decrease reliance on marine proteins for feed.
The Safety Of Norwegian Salmon In 2022
Despite the recent Listeria outbreak, Norwegian salmon remains safe to eat in 2022. The Norwegian salmon farming industry has made significant strides in improving fish health and safety. In fact, studies have shown that farmed Norwegian salmon is nutritious, sustainable, and safe to consume.
One of the reasons for this is the use of new disease-fighting techniques and preventative measures. The industry has also implemented educated animal husbandry practices to improve overall fish health. As a result, antibiotic use in Norwegian salmon farming has decreased by 97% since 1990.
While there have been concerns about heavy metals and toxins in farmed salmon, it’s important to note that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has strict regulations in place to ensure that farmed salmon is safe for consumption. In addition, the Norwegian government monitors the industry closely to ensure that it meets sustainable standards.
While there have been fluctuations in production levels due to various factors, such as volatile weather conditions and disease outbreaks, the overall safety of Norwegian salmon remains high. As always, it’s important to talk to your physician before making significant changes to your diet.
Recent Studies And Outbreaks
Recent studies have shown that farmed Norwegian salmon is safe to eat and is a good source of nutrients such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers have also found that the fish contain unwanted substances that can contribute to exceeding recommended consumption limits.
However, there have been recent outbreaks of Listeria linked to smoked salmon in Norway. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has reported four cases of Listeria infection, with patients aged between 50 and 90 years old. The patients had consumed smoked salmon or smoked trout from a specific producer, which has since recalled certain batches of their products.
It’s important to note that this outbreak is not indicative of all Norwegian salmon, and that ocean-farmed Norwegian salmon is still considered safe to consume. Consumers should always be aware of the source and quality of their seafood products, and should talk to their physician before making significant changes to their diet.
Farmed Vs Wild Salmon: The Debate
The debate between farmed and wild salmon is a contentious issue. Both types of salmon offer health benefits, but there are also potential risks associated with consuming them. Farmed salmon tends to be larger and provide more omega-3s than wild salmon. However, farmed salmon may contain more potentially harmful contaminants due to environmental and dietary differences.
On the other hand, wild salmon is often considered a healthier option due to its natural diet and environment. Wild salmon may contain fewer contaminants and pollutants than farmed salmon. However, the cost of wild salmon can be prohibitive for some consumers.
One of the main concerns with wild salmon is the potential for exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. These chemicals come from potentially polluted waters where the fish swim. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, may contain higher levels of PCBs due to what they’re fed.
While both types of salmon offer omega-3 fatty acids, consuming large amounts of either type could expose you to harmful chemicals. The best approach is to consume seafood in moderation and consider other sources of omega-3s such as flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and soy foods.
Another concern with farmed salmon is its impact on the environment. Overcrowded farming pens can lead to increased pollution from waste and unfinished fish feed, causing disease in the farmed salmon and leaching pollution into surrounding ecosystems. Wild salmon, on the other hand, are able to spread out in the ocean and feed on their natural diet, supporting a diverse ecosystem.
Sustainable Fishing Practices
Sustainable fishing practices are crucial for the long-term health of our oceans and the fish populations that inhabit them. The Norwegian salmon industry has been making strides in sustainability, with a focus on reducing environmental impact and promoting ethical animal husbandry.
One way the industry is achieving sustainability is through the use of non-GMO feed that is free from antibiotics. The ingredients used in the feed are sourced from certifiably sustainable sources and strictly controlled for unwanted substances. This ensures that the salmon are not exposed to harmful chemicals or antibiotics, and that the feed is environmentally responsible.
Another sustainable practice being implemented is the use of genome editing as a tool for selective breeding and improving feed ingredients in aquaculture. This can lead to solutions such as resistance to salmon lice and other pathogens, as well as reducing interbreeding with wild, threatened stocks. However, it’s important to assess the sustainability of genome-edited salmon with regards to biosphere protection, preservation of cultural and natural resources, and animal welfare.
The Norwegian salmon industry is also looking for new and sustainable raw materials for feed, such as seaweed and ragworms. Seaweed has high levels of carbohydrates but not enough fat to be fed directly to farmed salmon. However, by feeding seaweed to ragworms first, a high-quality feed rich in Omega-3 and other fatty acids can be obtained. This also helps to exploit residual raw materials derived from seaweed production.