Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Answer Is "33" - And Thanks For All The Fish

Reuters reports today that up 5% of commercially farmed salmon in Norway are deformed in one way or another. Just your usual unsightly physical defects like curved spines, jaws that won't close, or no gills. No, this is not a review of a Frankenfish scene from "The Simpsons". The deformities have been blamed as the result of a variety of benign causes that don't affect the food value of the *product*.

However, more and more studies are showing that farmed salmon have higher levels of toxic contaminants than do their wild counterparts, PCBs in particular. Two studies have even shown that commercial feed is one very likely culprit. There are concerns that the chemicals in the feed may adversely impact fisheries and local waters far beyond the commercial netcage operations, including streams and lakes to which fish that have consumed the commercial feed migrate.

Environmental concerns about farmed salmon also include the introductions of escaped exotic salmonid species into native habitats, and the transfer of diseases and parasites from densely farmed fish to migratory wild stocks. The latter is a nicely-contrasted real-world example of the old density-dependent-factors meme familiar to ecologists and disease pathologists.

The Fanatic Cook asks:
"How about some antibiotics, pesticides, PCB's and artificial color with that salmon?"
Then the cook shows us an example of the SalmoFan(tm) color wheel that lets commercial farmed salmon producers pick the correct dye color to stain their fish with, according to what consumers perceive as "good". The dyes are petrochemical derivatives manufactured by chemical/pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche. So focus a hairy eyeball upon, or, tip your hat to Hoffman-La Roche when you admire the palatable-looking hue of that salmon filet or steak labled by your grocer as "farm-raised".

Oh, and, the artificial color of the fish you purchased is likely color #33 on the SalmoFan(tm) spectrum, since that color is the one focus groups selected 2:1 over other artificial shades.

In the end, the answer to life, the universe, and everything else may be "What color would that be called in the interior/exterior house paint pallet", and, "Would it taste as good as a nice wild salmon filet?"

1 comment:

vbc2 said...

I think my dentist used that same color fan when he was choosing the shade for my bridge!