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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Jan 15;41(2):437-43.

Flesh quality of market-size farmed and wild British Columbia salmon.

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Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, BC, Canada.


This study compared the flesh quality of farmed and wild sources of British Columbia (BC) salmon with respect to concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyl compounds, polychlorinated dibenzodioxins/dibenzofurans and their associated toxic equivalents, total mercury (THg), methylmercury (MeHg), and selected fatty acids of known importance for human health viz., omega-3 (n-3) highly unsaturated fatty acids (n-3 HUFAs) and (n-6) fatty acids. Skinned fillets from known sources of farmed Atlantic, coho, and chinook salmon (n = 110) and wild coho, chinook, chum, sockeye, and pink salmon (n = 91) were examined. Atlantic salmon contained higher PCB concentrations (means, 28-38 ng/g) than farmed coho or chinook salmon, and levels in these latter species were similar to those in wild counterparts (means, 2.8-13.7 ng/g). PCB levels in Atlantic salmon flesh were, nevertheless, 53-71-fold less than the level of concern for human consumption of fish, i.e., 2000 ng/g as established by Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA). Similarly, THg and MeHg levels in all samples were well below the Health Canada guideline (0.5 microg/g) and the US-FDA action level (1.0 microg/g). On average, THg in farmed salmon (0.021 microg/g) was similar to or lower than wild salmon (0.013-0.077 microg/g). Atlantic salmon were a richer source (mean, 2.34 g/100 g fillet) of n-3 HUFAs than the other farmed and wild sources of salmon examined (means, 0.39-1.17 g/100 g). The present findings support the recommended weekly consumption guidelines for oily fish species (includes all BC salmon sources) for cardio-protective benefits as made by the American Heart Association and the UK Food Standards Agency.

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