When it comes to seafood, salmon is one of the most popular fish to eat for several reasons. Not only does it contain lots of healthy omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids, it’s also full of muscle-building protein. It’s also an extremely versatile fish as you can enjoy it grilled, pan-fried, and even raw as sashimi.
But recent news out of China will make you think twice about your salmon, especially if they’ve been sourced from its fisheries.
The South China Morning Post reported that the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, is now reclassifying freshwater rainbow trout as salmon, leading to fears that you may not be getting the legitimate product. It’s not just about getting scammed, there are genuine health concerns regarding this change too.
“It is ridiculous that the fake salmon dealers are still selling the rainbow trout as salmon at high prices,” an editorial from Beijing Youth Daily said. “They defend themselves by saying ‘fresh water salmon’ tastes the same and experience shows it is safe to eat raw, despite the parasites in rainbow trout making it dangerous to eat uncooked.”
Kenneth Leung, professor of aquatic ecology and toxicology at the University of Hong Kong, explains that rainbow trout is found only in freshwater, and as a result, could contain parasites not usually found in salmon, making raw consumption a concern.
“Rainbow trout cannot be eaten as sashimi because it needs to be fully cooked,” he said. “The parasite can live in the human liver and cause liver damage.”
Earlier this May, CCTV revealed that as much as a third of the salmon sold by one of the largest salmon farms in Qinghai was actually rainbow trout.
“People don’t know the difference,” Professor Leung said. “The colour [of rainbow trout] looks like salmon, and people may be misled.”
This isn’t the first time there’s been some form of controversy regarding salmon – it was found that farmed salmon flesh is actually grey instead of pink, and the pink hue you see is a result of eating “spiked” “pink-ifying pellets”.
Looks like you’ll have to go for the more expensive wild salmon if you want to be 100 percent sure you’re getting what you pay for.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer