Is Farm-Raised Fish Safe?

Safety of farm-raised fish
Is farm-raised fish safe?

Q. I have seen a lot of conflicting information about the safety of farmed-raised fish. I stopped buying farm-raised salmon years ago because of the concern. How does farm-raised trout stack up to other fish in terms of nutrition and safety? Where does most of the supply come from in USA?

A. Unfortunately, this issue is a moving target.  Exponential growth in aquaculture and the pressure to control costs means that procedures are constantly evolving.  If watchdog groups make enough noise about a safety or nutrition concern, the industry often changes practices in response.  So, something that was a concern a few years ago may no longer be a problem. (See, for example: Farmed salmon gets an anti-inflammatory makeover.)   However, newer concerns may have cropped up in the meantime.

The best resource I’ve found to keep up with these issues is Seafood Watch. These guys are working hard to stay on top of all of these issues and to provide up-to-date resources for consumers trying to make safe and responsible choices. They have a number of tools for consumers, including a mobile app for your smart phone or a low-tech wallet card, as well as in-depth reports on  individual fish.  According to the fact-sheet on farmed trout, most of the farm-raised trout in the U.S. is produced in Idaho, with a minimum of negative environmental impacts. They consider it an excellent choice.

5 thoughts on “Is Farm-Raised Fish Safe?

  1. Too bad there’s not more info available on the omega-3 / omega-6 composition of the feed for farmed trout. I wonder if trout farmers have made the same changes in response to public concern you discussed in 2009 regarding farmed salmon, or if farmed trout is high in arachidonic acid (as farmed salmon had been before those changes).

  2. Please tell me what is the latest update on Atlantic Salmon. I do eat it several times a week. Now I see it contains possible toxins. Is this true?

  3. where and how can I find someone to ship me farm raised trout. Here in Texas it is a SIN if you do not like catfish!! I was raised on trout in COLORADO!!

    1. Pacific Seafood.com as fresh framed steelhead trout. Very delicious I buy from them all the time so go to their website for their nearest location.

  4. Hi Dave, I’m not sure where in TX you live, but if you’ve got a Whole Foods nearby, I know they carry trout, and they’re usually very helpful about placing special orders for anything they don’t always have in stock.

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