Daily News Archives
Bill Requires Restaurant Labeling of Salmon
(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2004) A proposed law
in Alaska would require restaurants to disclose whether the salmon they
serve is farmed or wild, according to the Juneau Empire. Current
regulations in Alaska, which are not yet in effect, will require labeling
on fish products sold in grocery stores, showing country of origin and
whether it is farmed or wild. Restaurants were specifically exempt from
consumers in Alaska deserve the same notice as retail consumers,"
said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau. Committee chairman
Sen. Scott Ogan, Wasilla, said he was concerned that the measure would
require restaurants to incur undue expense printing new menus, but supported
the bill overall. "I always ask. I won't eat farmed fish, that's
just all there is to it. I support what you're doing here," Ogan
The bill, SB
282, passed the Senate Resources Committee on Friday, March 5 and
will go to the Senate Finance Committee next.
It is important for consumers to know the origin of the fish they consume,
since the difference in toxic contamination is significant. In fact,
a recent study
published in the January 9th issue of Science (vol. 303, 2004)
found significantly higher levels of cancer-causing and other health-related
contaminants in farm raised salmon than in their wild counterparts.
In most cases, as detailed in the study, consumption of more than one
meal of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks
according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods for
calculating fish consumption advisories. The study concluded that the
contamination problem is likely related to what salmon are being fed
when they're on the farm. While wild salmon eat a diverse buffet from
small aquatic organisms like krill to larger fish, farmed salmon are
fed a concentrated and high fat mixture of ground up fish and fish oil.
And since chemical contaminants a fish is exposed to during its life
are stored in its fat, the higher fat "salmon chow" passes
along more of these contaminants to the farmed salmon. For further details
on this research, see Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News, Contaminants
in Farm Raised Salmon Suggest Restrictions in Consumption.
Additionally, a government analysis in the United Kingdom from 1997-2001
found farmed salmon to be the most contaminated food. Each fish contained
at least 3 toxic chemicals. Salmon was the only food in which every
sample, from a batch tested in 1997, contained three pesticides: DDT,
dieldrin and hexachlorobenzene. See Farm
Salmon Are Now Most Contaminated Food on Shelf for more information.
TAKE ACTION: Contact your state legislators
of Congress about the need for labeling of salmon in your grocery
stores and restaurants. For more information on wild salmon in Alaska,
as well as other pesticide-related news in Alaska, see Alaska
Community Action on Toxics.