Organic salmon? Chefs, retailers and seafood companies are trying to capitalize on the organic trend by selling "organic" salmon. Don't be fooled. There is no such thing. The USDA has not yet issued regulations on organic seafood.
"Organic salmon" sold in U.S. markets and restaurants is coming from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Chile where foreign certification bodies have announced their own 'organic' standards for farmed salmon despite the fact that there are no internationally agreed upon standards in place. Often, the standards used by these foreign certifiers differ significantly from what many American consumers associate with the USDA organic label.
Proposed 'Organic' Standards for Fish Fail to Meet Consumer Expextations
November 19, 2008
The National Organic Standards Board decided today to accept the recommendations for "organic" fish production that will allow fish to carry the USDA organic labelódespite being raised under conditions that fail to meet fundamental USDA organic principles.
Diverse crowd presents testimony at the National Organic Standards board meeting
The National Organic Standards board convened November 27 - 30 to further consider organic standards for farmed raised fish such as salmon. The board heard testimony from scientists, environmentalists, consumer advocates, chefs and aquaculture industry proponents during an Organic Aquaculture Symposium on Tuesday and during a public comment period on Wednesday.
Read the transcripts or listen to the radio stories that covered the NOSB meeting:
Coalition of more than 40 groups sign letter urging that "USDA organic" standards be upheld for aquaculture
On November 1, a coalition of concerned advocates from 44 organizations sent a message to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), urging caution as that body considers whether or not to weaken USDA Organic Standards. The NOSB is meeting in late November of this year to consider the report of their Aquaculture Working Group. If acted upon, their recommendations would allow fish to carry the USDA Organic label despite being raised under conditions that fail to meet basic USDA Organic principles. Read the letter or a press release.
Read a commentary that ran on the Environmental News Network's website, Is Organic the Answer for Seafood?
Read more on Gourmet's Choptalk blog.
Groups Praise Committee Recommendation to Exclude Farmed Salmon From Organic Standards
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Livestock Committee is recommending that fish raised in open net-cages and those using wild caught fish in their diet be excluded from forthcoming United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic aquaculture standards. Find out more.
American Consumers Being Misled by "Organic" Salmon Sold in the U.S.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not finalized an organic standard for farmed fish and yet imported fish from Norway, Ireland and the United Kingdom that are certified as organic by each country's own certification process are being sold in U.S. grocery stores and restaurants with an "organic" label. Find out more.
Read the background information
Americans Leery Of Potential USDA Organic Label For Farmed Seafood
According to a recent survey by the Pure Salmon Campaign, six in 10 respondents said that they would not expect farmed fish with the "USDA Organic" label to contain contaminants or be farmed in such a way that is harmful to marine wildlife and not allow fish to follow their natural behavior. Find out more
National Organics Standards Board Meets to Discuss Standards for Organic Aquaculture
On October 18, 2006 the Pure Salmon Campaign submitted oral and written comments to the National Organic Standards Board's on its aquaculture standards, stating that, "The Pure Salmon Campaign believes that the production of carnivorous finfish in open net cages is inconsistent with "organic" production on several fronts."
Study Shows That Organically Farmed Salmon Have Higher Contaminant Levels Than Both Conventionally Farmed And Wild Salmon
In this study, the highest concentrations of PCBs, dioxin-like PCBs, and DDT were found in organically farmed Norwegian salmon. These observations suggest that purchasing higher priced organically farmed salmon does not necessarily protect the consumer from toxic exposure. Read the study. [PDF]