Buy Wild Alaskan Salmon

One Awesome Blender

Friday, April 25, 2014

Why Are So Many Chefs Supporting This Toxic Salmon

It seems that more and more chefs are pushing Faroe Island Salmon. The Faroe Islands, located north of Scotland and east of Norway market themselves as a great source of salmon. A wise consumer however, with even a small amount of investigation, will discover that the salmon being touted is farm raised: not wild. They claim sustainable, clean, and pure farm raised salmon. Upon closer inspection, the more I investigate, the more I notice this salmon appearing in the market place at both national and local levels. The increased market presence of this particular salmon seems to have been given a boost by a few nationally and locally recognized chefs.
If you know anything about me or Aroma Thyme then you know we oppose farm-raised salmon. There are many reasons for this. I encourage you to investigate further yourself by checking out the articles and videos that I’ve compiled on my new website: You’ll find documentation covering salmon from farms worldwide.

I acknowledge that salmon farming has come a long way since the 70s, but there are certain elements to open-pen salmon farming that may never be acceptable. Of course, industry proponents say otherwise, while the anti-farmed salmon advocacy groups are filled with those living in communities that are directly and negatively impacted by salmon farms. These community members include scientists, marine biologists, local fisherman and others who may rely upon their local waters for a living.

Again, while in some areas salmon farming practices have moved towards a “sustainable” process, most if not all salmon farms have major flaws to begin with because the whole notion of salmon farming is really built upon flaws that don’t really have any answers.

Farms make claims regarding how excellent and nutritious their finished product is. Sadly, they don’t tell you what the percentage of die off, how much disease effects how much of their overall population, or where and how the refuse (dead carcasses and fish waste) is dumped. Sea lice, for instance, is something that can cause a great deal of damage in a salmon farm. Sea lice can attach themselves to the fry (baby salmon) before they mature and begin growing scales. When a farm is infected, the issue is not necessarily contained to the farm because most, if not nearly all salmon farms at no truly closed systems, but rather more open. In other words, salmon farm “run-off” will find its way into the local water systems (rivers, lakes, streams, bays, etc...) So, once a farm is infected sea lice can find their way to the local wild salmon population. In British Columbia it is estimated that some 60% of wild salmon have been exposed to sea lice from salmon farms. You’d never know this to be the case based upon the self-proclaimed statement found on the Skuna Bay Salmon Farms’ website, “Another wild salmon save.” The sad reality is that these farms are linked to a decline in wild salmon population.

We all know the oft stated, “You are what you eat.” Salmon farms use fish meal pellets that contain an array of non-natural salmon food. Of course the industry claims how great this food is. It's basically ground up fish stolen out of other fisheries from around the world. Instead of these fish being left to feed the local ecosystem they were born in, they are caught, processed, and then fed to farm raised salmon. It can take up to four pounds of wild fish to grow one pound of salmon on a farm. This is yet another major flaw of the so-called sustainable farm raised salmon industry. This is clearly a net deficit not just in the food supply chain, but in other resources as well.
Fish meal isn’t the only thing going into the diet of farm raised salmon. The industry promotes the notion of an “advanced diet” for their salmon. Other item that can find their way into a salmon’s diet is soy, and since soy is used, it is very likely that more often than not it will be genetically modified soy. Additionally, there are farms in Europe that now feed farm raised salmon chicken and pork by-products.
Tell me – on what planet do salmon normally eat soy, chicken and pork? Seriously?!?! Here too I encourage you to do a bit of research to learn what is meant by the term “by-products”. Trust me when I say, you will not be happy in the least.

Let’s return to the Faroe Islands salmon. Essentially since the beginning of farm raised salmon there have been reports of the significant contamination on these farms. Recently, scientists have issued devastating warnings about the dangerous levels of toxic chemicals found in the salmon from Scotland and the Faroe Islands. So serious are these claims that warnings have been issued to NOT eat more than THREE servings per year. With a warning like this, why would you even put one serving into your body?

Researchers discovered that highest concentrations of toxic industrial pollutants (PCBS and dioxins) and agricultural pesticides (toxaphene and dieldrin) in salmon came from the Faroe Islands and Scotland. It was surmised that the fish feed contained oil recovered from the ground-up bodies of tiny sea life harvested in the North Atlantic - a dumping ground for decades for manmade toxins. It was also discovered that fish from Norway performed badly as well. Dr. Foran has also been heard to say that after his involvement with this study, his family would never again eat farmed raised salmon.

The U.S. journal, Science, concluded, "The consumption advice is that no more than one meal every four months should be consumed in order to avoid an increased risk of cancer. Even smaller amounts, it suggested, could trigger harmful effects to brain function and the immune system.”

Don Staniford of the Salmon Farm Protest Group said, "This scientific study blows out of the water the myth that farmed salmon is safe, nutritious and healthy.”

The study did say some of the less contaminated farm-raised salmon comes from Washington and Oregon State.

The safest type of salmon to eat is wild salmon. Further still, look for only Alaskan salmon. In fact Alaska does not allow fish farming so there is no worrying or guessing if it is wild from Alaska.
With all of this data so readily available on the Internet it is beyond me why chefs push farm raised salmon from the Faroe Islands or anywhere else for that matter. When you see the words “farm raised salmon, Faroe Islands, Scottish, etc…” prominently displayed on the menus of the restaurants that you patronize, remember that you would be best to select something else to eat.

As already stated, we recommend wild Alaskan Salmon when you chose to eat salmon.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Just say “no” to farmed salmon

Twenty years ago, a lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that men in a Danish fishing village who ate at least 30 oz of salmon a week had half the risk of getting a heart attack as their bovine-consuming neighbors.

Since heart disease had been, until very recently, the leading cause of death in this country physicians have been recommending that everyone eat fish at least once weekly. In addition to its benefit in reduction of cardiovascular mortality, fish oils have also been found to be of benefit in reducing arthritis and other inflammatory disorders and to improve cognition (particularly in the offspring of fish consuming moms). The NEJM article was published in May of 1985 and between 1987 and 1999 the annual salmon consumption in the United States increased by 23%. During the same time period it increased by 14% in Europe.

This increase in fish consumption has unfortunately not proven to be a boon to the hardy fishermen and women of Alaska. In fact, since the Exxon Valdez disaster these hard-working folks are getting far less per pound for their fish than they were prior to the disaster (which is still not cleaned up). Close to 60% of the salmon now sold is raised in farms located around the globe (British Columbia, Washington State, Chile and Northern Europe) in which Atlantic salmon (genus Salmo) are crowded into pens and fed fish meal pellets. If you are looking at salmon in the grocery store or the restaurant and it says just “salmon” or “Atlantic Salmon”, it is farmed. The presence of these pens in the Pacific Northwest pose a serious threat to the native runs of pacific salmon (genus Oncorhyncus) in those areas.

While the potential health benefits of wild salmon are well known, the potential toxicity of the farmed salmon needs to be highlighted. Several studies have now been done measuring the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and other persistent chlorinated contaminants in farmed salmon. A study done by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that farmed salmon had an average of four times the amount of PCBs and Dioxins as wild salmon. In the United States, the Environmental Working Group ( did a small study of farmed salmon that were purchased at stores in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Portland, OR. They found that seven of the ten farmed salmon purchased had levels of PCB that should raise health concerns. The EWG researchers found an average PCB level of 27.3 ppb in the ten fish studied with highest levels in the salmon that was farm raised in Scotland. This was over 5 times higher than the level of PCBs found in a sampling of wild salmon.

These studies, done on relatively small numbers of fish, had their findings confirmed in a subsequent study done on over 700 salmon (totaling approximately 2 metric tons of farmed and wild salmon) from around the globe. Thirteen persistent chlorinated chemical pollutants were found in significantly higher levels in farmed salmon than in wild salmon. The only compound that did not reach statistical significance was lindane which was still higher in farmed than wild salmon. The four compounds with the greatest differences were PCBs, dioxins, toxaphene and dieldrin. The least contaminated fish samples came from Washington State and Chile still had significantly higher levels of PCBs, dioxins and dieldrin. The most contaminated farmed salmon came from Scotland and the Faroe islands.

The researchers were wise enough to also test the fish pellets that these farmed salmon were fed. They tested samples of salmon feed from global suppliers that account for 80% of all salmon feed sold world-wide, and found the source of the salmon’s contamination. The levels of these toxins in the fish were directly related to their presence in their feed. These pellets are made from smaller fish which have been contaminated with these pollutants. PCBs then build up in the salmon at levels about 20-30 that of their environment and feed.

Proponents of aquaculture (fish farming) are ready to point out that these levels are not necessarily a health hazard. However, studies that have looked at the effect of PCB intake on offspring appear to contradict that stance. There have been a number of studies that have measured maternal levels of PCBs and then followed the offspring for a number of years. Their findings are consistent that the higher the serum levels of maternal PCBs the greater the neurological deficits in the offspring.

In 1979 rice bran cooking oil that was contaminated with PCBs was used for a number of months in Taiwan. Children born to exposed mothers (including children born up to 6 years after the exposure) were then followed for persistent neuro-psychological problems. At 6 years post exposure the offspring scored an average of 6 IQ points lower than their older siblings who were themselves exposed to the PCBs. In addition they exhibited 23% greater rates of problem behavior and 15% greater levels of activity than their controls. By age 17 these children still showed significantly greater problems with behavior and had a persistent IQ reduction averaging 3 IQ points. This was true even in children born to mothers up to 6 years after their exposure.

A study done in Michigan followed the development of children born to mothers who had consumed fish from Lake Michigan which were polluted with PCBs. These were not farm-raised fish with 4-16 times the level of PCBs found in wild fish. Even though the average maternal serum levels of PCBs were only mildly higher than US averages, these children did show persistent effects. By age 11 these children showed reduced total IQ, and especially verbal IQ, that became more pronounced as the maternal levels of PCBs increased. IQ drops in the group with the highest maternal serum level averaged 6.2 IQ points. This reduction in IQ is similar to that found in children with elevated blood lead levels. The children with in-utero exposure had poorer verbal and reading comprehension, poor “freedom from distractibility”, reduced short and long-term memory, and decreased ability to organize and plan. These children were more than three times likely to perform poorly on testing and were at least two years behind their controls in reading skills. Fortunately levels of PCB in maternal breastmilk had absolutely no association with these neurotoxicity effects. It appears that these defects are developed secondary to PCB exposure in utero, not after delivery.

The alarming point of the ongoing Michigan study is that the mothers only had blood PCB levels slightly above the US average. It would not be hard to have much higher than normal PCB levels if one were to be eating farmed salmon on a regular basis. Even though no federal agency has put out a warning, I think it would be prudent to let all women for whom pregnancy is possible know that they should avoid all exposure to farmed salmon. Fortunately every grocery store seems to have cans of Alaskan Salmon that are readily available for use. With the highest EPA/DHA levels of any fish and a very low mercury and PCB levels, it provides one of the best sources of fish in the diet.

But what does one do if they have elevated PCB levels in their blood. As was found in the Taiwan study, children born up to 6 years after mom’s exposure still had problems. Since PCBs are fat-soluble, they tend to stay in the body for a long time and redistribute throughout adipose stores. Since the human body is not designed to easily get rid of fats or oils these compounds tend to bioaccumulate. Supplementation that helps to produce and dump bile (cholegogue and cholerectic actions) and have that bile be excreted from the body would be beneficial. Psyllium is still the only fiber that is known to actually increase the fecal bile content. But having patients undergo a program that combines low temperature sauna and colonic irrigations may be the best protocol to reduce levels of PCBs.

PCBs have also been associated in the medical literature with different cancers. One of my cancer patients had his PCB levels tested prior to going through our intensive cleansing program for a period of four weeks. He was retested twice as he continued to do a maintenance cleansing protocol. His initial program included 3 hours of low temperature sauna five days weekly for 20 session, that were followed by constitutional hydrotherapy and colonic irrigations. Supplementation was included as part of his cleansing program along with dietary changes. After the initial 20 sessions he did one colonic irrigation weekly for the following 18 months. Prior to starting his cleansing program he had 3 (out of 10 tested) PCBs present in his blood totaling 2.5 ng/ml (ppb). Eleven months later only 2 were present for a level of 1.4 ng/ml. Seven months after that none were detected! This rate of decline far outpaces the normal glacial reduction of PCBs in the serum (as highlighted in the Taiwan spill studies), showing that this cleansing method was clearly effective for this individual in reducing his body burden of PCBs.

While such cleansing programs are available to reduce the body burden of persistent chemical pollutants, it would be wiser to avoid exposures to them in the first place. For the sake of the children-to-be, the intake of all Atlantic salmon should be avoided.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Farmed Salmon Are Not a Sustainable Alternative

      Farmed Salmon

Yesterday the Washington Post published a dangerously misleading article about farmed salmon. Lauding improvements in the salmon farming industry, they assert that farmed salmon is a viable alternative to wild-caught fish. We'd like to set the record straight: farmed salmon is a terrible choice for our oceans. 

When you eat farmed salmon, you're really eating another fish called the jack mackerel, or another wild species like sardines or anchovies. Salmon are carnivorous, and farms feed their fish food pellets made from these smaller wild fish. The problem is that many of these species, especially jack mackerel, are dangerously overfished.

For most Chilean farms, it takes about three pounds of wild fish to feed one pound of salmon. So you are likely eating three pounds of jack mackerel or other wild species -- which are likely in trouble -- when sit down to eat your pound of farmed salmon. A small number of Chilean farms have managed to reduce this ratio to one to one. But even then, it still takes a pound of wild fish to make your pound of farmed salmon. 

Feed conversion is just one of many problems. Chilean farms are located in pristine, deep-water fjords off of Patagonia, where even minimal pollution could irreparably damage the ecosystem. No matter what they do, even the most responsible salmon farms will pollute their waters with parasiticides, chemicals, and fish feces. The Chilean farmed salmon industry also uses more than 300,000 kilograms of antibiotics a year to keep their fish alive, causing bacterial resistances that affect the surrounding ecosystem and people. 

Salmon farming is better than it used to be, but it used to be horrendous. The answer to this problem is not, as the Washington Post article suggests, to make salmon aquaculture sustainable. It's to make wild fish stocks more abundant using science-based fishery management instead of promoting salmon farming, which is a destructive and wasteful way of eating wild fish. As long as fisheries are managed properly, wild seafood can provide a healthy meal a day for billions of people.

Eating three pounds of jack mackerel straight from the oceans to your plate is a far better choice for the environment and for your health. By eating less-popular species you can still enjoy a healthy, wild fish, and our ocean waters can stay free of the pollutants that come with salmon farms. But this won't happen if we keep on grinding our wild fish stocks up to turn them into salmon fish-food. So skip the farmed salmon. Opt for wild-caught, or break out of your boring (and unsustainable) salmon routine and try eating that jack mackerel, or another wild fish, instead.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What is One of the Most Toxic Foods You Can Eat?

Well, if you ask theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA) they might say it is farmed Salmon.  In fact, the EPA recommends that you not eat more than one meal of farmed salmon per month.  If the farmed salmon originates from Scotland or the Faroe Islands then the maximum one should eat per month is one half of a serving.  A serving being 6 ounces of farmed salmon.  You read correctly that is in one month, 30 days!  Shocking?  These guidelines are to keep the American public from consuming too many cancer causing chemicals such as things like PCBs and dioxin
You can assume that if your salmon label does not say Wild Alaskan salmon, your salmon is farmed.  Atlantic salmon that is farmed contains the most amount of chemicals in their flesh compared to wild salmon, beef, pork, chicken and other seafoods.  The heart benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon is offset in farmed salmon as the chemicals found in the flesh are so toxic to the body.  The EPA guidelines are related just to cancer risk concerns, it is speculated that the other health effects related to the chemicals in farmed salmon such as reproductive problems, immune problems, thyroid problems and other endocrine problems might be a greater concern to the general public as these symptoms develop more quickly than cancer.  The Environmental Working Group found in a study of store bought farmed salmon from Washington DC, San Francisco and Portland found enough PCBs in the fish to actually raise the consumer's cancer risk.  The farmed Atlantic salmon had 16 times the amount of PCBs than was found in wild salmon.  PCBs were found to be so toxic that their use was banned in the US in 1976 and has been slated to be phased out all over the world.  PCBs and other chemicals get into the salmon through the feed they are fed.  
When you go to a restaurant and order salmon off the menu, make sure it says wild salmon.  If the menu does not say, it is farmed.  Farming salmon makes it much more affordable as wild salmon prices about as much as a high end cut of beef.  When trying to make healthy dinner choices for your family, choose land animals or wild salmon.  Your family will thank you for it later.
If you want to know how much tuna you should eat a week, check our the tuna really makes you reevaluate what to order off the sushi menu.



The salmon virus can have devastating consequences for the salmon industry, but quick action and collaboration between authorities and the industry is likely to prevent an outbreak. PHOTO: THOMAS BJØRKAN.

The salmon virus can have devastating consequences for the industry, but is of no danger for humans.

The Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) virus was detected by the Faroese veterinary authorities last night at one farming site belonging to the islands' largest salmon producer Bakkafrost. 
At the same time, but across the Norwegian sea, the ISA virus was also detected at a farming site in Vestvågsøy, Lofotposten reported last night.
Although the virus has been found in both places, there are no signs of a disease outbreak. 

Devastating consequences

The ISA virus brought the Faroese salmon industry to its knees in the early 2000s, wiping out most of the salmon population. After the hit, the industry managed to get back on its feet and farmed salmon is now the most important export good from the Faroe Islands.
Norway has also had to cope with the effects of the disease, both in the late 1980s and again in the early 2000s. 
The virus attacks the salmon's red blood cells and causes severe anaemia, often leaving the salmon to die of various related causes.
Despite dire consequences the ISA virus can have on salmon, it does not affect any other animals, including humans.

Preventive measures 

The protocol in cases of such virus detections for both the Faroes and Norway are similar.
Quick action is likely to prevent a severe outbreak of the disease, and authorities are now isolating the farming sites and any sites within relative vicinity, the Faroese Chief Veterinarian said in a statement
The same procedures are taking place in Lofoten. Because the fish at this point carry no signs of disease, they will be harvested and exported. 
It usually takes a number of weeks from the disease first breaks out until it spreads to other farming sites, so quick action in the early stages is critical.
Although the virus has been detected early on and the likelihood of preventing an outbreak of the disease is high, the Bakkafrost shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange have fallen by more than five percent this morning.

DDT found in salmon: Pesticide discovered in farmed fish on sale in five major British supermarkets

                                   Fresh salmon sold in five major supermarkets was found to contain trace levels of pesticide DDT

Pesticides have been found in fresh salmon sold by leading supermarkets.
Farmed salmon from Norway and Scotland is hugely popular as a healthy oily fish.
However, the production process involves dousing the fish, reared in cages moored in the sea, in chemicals to kill parasitic lice.
They are also given a protein feed, created from small waste fish which can be contaminated with chemicals from the environment – including DDT and its by-products.
Trace levels of these chemicals were found in fish sold by Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Iceland. DDT was banned for use almost 30 years ago because of its risk to human health.
A recently published study suggested a link between DDT, an associated by-product compound called pp-DDE and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly.
Official studies show farmed salmon is more likely to carry traces of chemical pesticides than any other food type.
The Pesticides Residues Monitoring Programme, which is overseen by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), tested farmed salmon and trout sold in the supermarkets.
The figures from 2013, which have just been released through a Freedom of Information Act request, found the pesticides pp-DDE, Dieldrin and Cypermethrin, as well as other chemicals, in fish sold by supermarkets.
Dieldrin, a powerful pesticide, was banned in the 1970s.
It has been linked to health problems such as Parkinson’s, breast cancer, and immune, reproductive, and nervous system damage.
Cypermethrin is a pesticide used on farmed salmon to kill off lice that live on the captive fish.
The results revealed two samples of rainbow trout fillets from the UK sold by Morrisons tested positive for Dieldrin, while salmon sold by Iceland also tested positive. Tesco Everyday Value salmon fillets from Norway were found to contain traces of pp-DDE.

The production process of salmon involves covering the fish in chemicals to kill parasitic lice. The creatures are also given a protein feed which can be contaminated with chemicals from the environment - including DDT and its by-products.

The chemicals accumulate in the fat of the fish. Salmon which is farmed is far fattier than the wild fish and therefore more likely to carry chemical traces.
The details were revealed by Don Staniford, Director of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, who is a long standing critic of fish farms.
He said: ‘Farmed salmon is the most contaminated food on the supermarket shelf. It should carry a Government health warning.
‘Salmon farmers can decontaminate fish feed – this has been known for decades but the industry has refused to take action.’
Government experts have ruled that the chemical levels are so low as to not pose a risk, say the HSE. 
The HSE added that it ‘does detect and report occasional residues of substances used to control lice on fish. When used for this purpose these substances are regulated as veterinary medicines.’
The British Retail Consortium, which speaks for food stores, said: ‘The HSE has confirmed the microscopic residues present no issues for consumers.
‘The chemical banned since the 1980s is still present in minute levels in the environment and the survey is to assess the levels present.’

Salmon Documentaries