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                         Farmed Salmon-The New Color of Money?
                                                                                          By Randy Karp
The "SalmoFan " is for real......

Many a  salmon farmer's good fortune depends on it.  Consumers don’t line up to buy pale, pasty and gray farmed salmon from growers that don't use colorant. Confined fish aren't free to feed on the ocean floor, eating krill, chocked full of flesh coloring carotenoids. So farmed salmon can't glow as orange as a traffic light. At least not naturally.  Not to be outdone, more than a few opt to shout it out, using artificial color. A handy little device known as the SalmonFan® by Hoffman- La Roche, makes it as easy as paint by numbers to do just that. All farmers need do is pick the precise orange hue they wish, and exactly what's required to achieve that color, will be added into fish meal. Easier than a trip to the hardware store to buy a can of paint!

Remember those lyrics in the Marvin Gaye song, “ain't nothing like the real thing, baby?” But what really inspired these words?  Was he celebrating the value of a real woman, or a real salmon? These days, as we know, both are hard to find. Since we already know the value of a real woman, let’s turn to our attention to the salmon. A wild one if you will.

Their amazing journey home after years at sea, to the precise bed of gravel from which they were born, is no accident. Their mammoth odyssey, ending with their return to their fresh water birthplace from their saltwater home, (behavior known as anadromous). It's as manically predictable as it's genetically driven. Chucking the good life when nature signals their time to spawn, many travel up to 2,000 miles or more in a matter of months, through backbreaking water, that often appears bent on defeating them. But they do it. Those from the Pacific get to do so just once, and then die. Their Atlantic ocean counterparts are more fortunate, and live to spawn another time or two. In preparation for their final journey, they quite literally morph. We’re not talking a few gray hairs here. I mean a male salmons entire mouth changes, becoming convoluted as it bends outward to accommodate the growth of newly formed canine teeth. Teeth that serve to protect them from predictors, that might otherwise seek to undermine their mission. Even their backs mysteriously change shape, arching to accommodate the growth of a hump in preparation for their final homage. Like a spare tank of gas, it enables them to store additional fuel to complete their journey. At the same time, their color ripens to a crimson orange.

Eat their flesh and savor real flavor, while capturing nutrients born by life in the wild. Teaming with marine life, each cell contains the powerful nutrients that give them the strength to complete their amazing ritual.

In stark contrast are the counterfeiters. The fat, lazy, plumped up, chemically laden industrially, man-made counterparts.

Randy’s Recipe for Farmed Salmon;

Place a million fish in a 10 acre pond. Allow them to feed on their own feces, or,
Throw 50 or more in a  shallow two foot river bed, known as a redding, or.
Place a few hundred in a stainless steel cage. Note: Spray liberally with copper sulfate to reduce algae on walls.
Disregard broken fins and tails from sides of cages, or nets, from fish rubbing fish,  in confined quarters.1

Paint by numbers- Select artificial color from Hoffmann-La Roches SalmoFan®. Next, purchase fish meal with plenty of astaxanthin (the synthetic form used in aquaculture is made from petrochemicals), and canthaxanthin (linked to liver damage, and retinopathy), used, but not approved by the FDA for sunless tanning. Both red pigment are carotene's, and are added for color.  Farmed flesh is normally a  pale gray. khaki or sallow yellow.  Experience suggests few will purchase.  Note: It’s easy to use as a paint wheel! 2 You are what you eat, ate.

Vaccinate- Helps reduce high rates of furunculosis (puss filled boils) in farmed confined salmon.

Antibiotics and pesticides- Douse with oxytetracycline, to reduce large rates of infestation from sea lice.3’ Or, consider the pesticide emamectin benzoate often used after they develop. Despite its use, farmed fish still appear to contain more then their fare share. Food Democracy, an advocate for healthy living. references the LA Times story of Alexander Morton, who found 78% of some 700 pink baby salmon tested from various farms to be contaminated with a fatal dose. (

Feed the food- Step up to the plate! Consider high quality food like Skretting’s “Winter Plus 3500″ ®. The company lists as its largest ingredient, Poultry Meal4. What’s that you ask? It’s a product produced by grinding poultry carcasses, bone, internal organs (know as offal) and undeveloped eggs.5  Also listed among its many ingredients are Feather Meal, (made from ground and heated poultry feathers) Fish Meal, Poultry Fat, Fish Oil, Copper Sulfate, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal,  Rapeseed Oil. and Sodium Selinite. More good news. it also contains vitamins.  Remember, you are what you eat- ATE (Misinformed About Food, 2010)!

Got Fat? No problem! According to the USDA, these farm boys come fully loaded, with a whopping 270% more fat than wild caught. Not all healthy fat mind you. Fat that stores lots of bad stuff too, like PCB’s.  An amazing 16- 40  times more of these cancer causing agents than wild caught, according to the Environmental Working Group 6, (from concentrated sources of contaminant in fish meal) lots of constrictive, pro-inflammatory Omega 6’s (we need more of these like a hole in the head), 20% more calories per ounce, about 20% less protein per ounce, and 33% less healthy Omega 3’s. Old McDonald never had this kind of farm.

Of course not all farmed fish contains all the ingredients listed above. But it can.
Perhaps the  60's  rock group,  The Troggs were actually inspired by salmon, when they wrote the verse, " Wild, thing, I think I love you?"
Despite all this, more than 90% of salmon we eat today is farmed. Want to GO FISH?

4.Circle of Responsibility. Fish farming.
6. Summary-PCBs in Farmed Salmon July, 2003,

Randy Karp, Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. No copies, reproductions, or transmissions of this article, or any portions of this article are permitted by law without the express written permission of the author.
Labels: farmed fish, fish color, Health, salmofan, seafood, spawn, wild