Business Strategies / Food Safety / Wellness Foods

Salmon Pass PCB Test

Dec 20, 2004

Farmed salmon passed the test. In a study last fall, farm-raised salmon were collected and tested for levels of polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs, chemical compounds once used in lubricants and coolants, are no longer produced in the U.S. but still found in the environment. Health effects associated with exposure to PCBs range from skin conditions in adults to neurobehavioral and immunological changes in children. PCBs are known to cause cancer in animals, although they have not been connected with cancer in humans.

The study -- funded by Salmon of the Americas, conducted by the independent, non-profit laboratory Southwest Research Institute and verified by Cantox Environmental -- showed that of the 41 fish sampled from multiple locations in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, and 90 fish from locations in Chile, and east and west Canada, contain essentially the same amount of PCBs as fresh and frozen wild salmon. The levels in both were about 1/200 of the FDA tolerance and, as stated by the leading public health organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe, pose no risk to consumers. According to Salmon of the Americas consultant Jill Melton, M.S., R.D., “The health benefits of salmon and its omega-3s far outweigh any negatives by the miniscule levels of PCBs.”

The samples represented fish from locations that account for 95 percent of the farmed salmon sold in the U.S. and Canada. Procedures and testing methodology for the studies are available online at