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Monday, Sep 01, 2014
Lifestyle Stories

USDA doesn’t have rules for ‘organic’ salmon


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Q: Where can I find organic salmon? I’m really trying to clean up our eating, and we all enjoy salmon, but I can’t find organic anywhere.

Answer: If you do find salmon labeled “organic,” leave it in the case. It is mislabeled!

The USDA is the federal agency that establishes the rules for organic labeling, and they have no rules for salmon. So there is no such thing as legitimately labeled organic salmon. (There are no rules for what is organic for any fish.)

If you want good salmon, wild-caught Alaska salmon is generally considered the best choice. It is usually available in the market between May and September. For the rest of the year, you will get better products if you choose frozen or canned salmon. Anything that is sold as “fresh” other than during the summer harvest season has either been frozen or is farmed salmon.

There are some concerns about possible contaminants in some farmed salmon, not all, and it is still a healthy choice for most of us. Pregnant women should limit their intake to just a couple of times a month if they want to be extra careful. Frozen and canned salmon are both as nutritious as fresh, they are less likely to be carrying any extra bacteria, and they will have all the same omega-3 fats. Salmon canned with bones will have the added benefit of more calcium, too. Any type of salmon is good for us unless you’re breading and deep frying it. So, just eat more salmon.

Mary A. Keith, a licensed dietitian and health agent at Hillsborough County Extension, can be reached at mkeith@ufl.edu.

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