In making consumer choices, most of us don’t have time for careful sorting of fact from fiction. As a result, we rely on sources presumed to be accurate and free of bias.
For years, I’ve subscribed to and relied upon non-commercial Consumer Reports for general guidance. In the last decade, for food and cooking related subjects, I’ve paid attention to Christopher Kimball’s intensely commercial and very successful enterprises: Cooks Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Country, etc.
Any trust I placed in the Kimball empire was challenged by misinformation broadcast today on WGBH, the most important supplier of PBS network programs. The subject was salmon, wild and farmed, and America’s Test Kitchen’s expert was Ian Davison of Constitution Seafoods, Inc. of Boston MA. He said this,
“Wild salmon, comes from the west coast of U.S., usually costs a lot more…
“Also, wild – I don’t know where it’s been. It has a higher chance for PCBs and mercury than the controlled environments of farm raised salmon…”
I’m suspicious when a putative expert speaks with certainty about any controversial subject and this is a prime example. The statement from a person marketing farmed salmon seems particularly egregious, especially when the claim is broadcast nationally by PBS. It is directly opposite to findings in a peer reviewed paper published in SCIENCE under the title Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. It includes this finding:
“…Having analyzed over 2 metric tons of farmed and wild salmon from around the world for organochlorine contaminants, we show that concentrations of these contaminants are significantly higher in farmed salmon than in wild. European-raised salmon have significantly greater contaminant loads than those raised in North and South America…”