Feed lot food coloring and dolphins in your tuna sandwich? What is going on with our food system...? part 1
Of course I am intensely interested in all things seafood, particularly salmon.
While enjoying a nice cup of tea and browsing on the internet this morning I came across two disturbing items that reminded me just how difficult it can be to find a trusted source for quality seafood. And I made the decision to create my first blog post because- well, I felt I had an obligation to shine the light.
A product listing from a prominent seafood purveyor caught my eye. My curiosity was peaked as I considered the flavors. Without regular access to quality restaurants I've managed to become a pretty good cook (friend's tell me this... so it must be true). I took a close look at the ingredient list- what did I find? I was prepared to see the usual disappointing preservatives, additives and fillers that are so prevalent in prepackaged and already prepared foods. The secondary ingredients actually didn't look too bad.
But the first ingredient of Alaskan Salmon had me really stumped. It stated on the packaging that coloring was added through feed. This really bothered me for a couple of reasons and led me to question what else might be incorrect on that ingredient list. As you probably are aware there really isn't much enforcement or inspection that goes on with regards to ingredients used versus ingredients claimed. When buying food in a box it really comes down to taking a company at their word.
All of Alaska's Salmon is Wild Caught. Fish farms are absolutely not allowed in our states waters. They are unwanted and banned from interfering with the wild and healthy fish runs of Alaska. Our fisheries are managed for perpetual sustainable harvest. For always is the plan. But that's not the story I want to tell here now.
Back to the coloring talk.
Wild Alaska Salmon are varied in coloring, solely dependent on naturally varying genetics and locality of that particular salmon run. Our Copper River Sockeye is renowned for it's striking color and unique depth of flavor- laden with heart healthy fats. Other regions may produce a similar shade but with a drastically reduced fat content, or they may have a markedly different paler shade all together. It's natures call. Not a color additive scientists or product development research panel. The farmed fish mega farms dye Salmon to match regional fish buying preferences. There are color cards used very similar to the ones you use to pick out a can of paint. Any shade is possible. If they did not add colorant to the feed it would be an unappetizing grey. It simply is not the same thing visually or nutritionally as a Wild Salmon.
But my point is this.
How can the primary ingredient be listed as Alaskan Salmon and then a reference made to the feed color additive they use in farmed fish? "Coloring" certainly is a more neutral term than stating "chemicals added to feed" which would be more descriptively accurate but also a little terrifying to read..
Please research what you eat and where it comes from. Find healthful foods from a trusted source. Whenever possible choose as close to the start of the food chain as you can. Small businesses like ours take great care in the food we produce and can tell you the story and source of our ingredients. Let that guide you in your purchasing decisions. Plus in these crazy times independent food producers need to be kept afloat for everyone's sake. We don't want to loose the diversity in our food system to mega corps. Once lost it would be nearly impossible to regain. But maybe that is a topic for yet another blog post...
“I am a fisherwoman with a commitment to sustainable fishing practices, environmental protections and the advancement of gender equity."