Farmed salmon can contain pesticide residues, but nothing to worry about

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  • Published: Mar 11, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Infrared Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics / Atomic / X-ray Spectrometry / Base Peak / Proteomics / Raman

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Some salmon farmed in Europe contains low levels of pesticide residues, but not large enough to justify the campaign that labels it "the most contaminated foodstuff on the supermarket shelf." Figures released by the UK Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food showed that 6 out of 37 samples (17%) of farmed salmon bought from UK retail outlets between April and September 2013 were contaminated with DDE, a breakdown product of DDT and one also contained dieldrin.

This report was seized upon by the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture which has been waging a campaign against farmed salmon for some time. "Rather than being marketed as a 'healthy & nutritious' food, farmed salmon should be labelled as hazardous waste," declared its director Don Staniford, making headlines in at least one UK national newspaper." With an ear for a sound bite he continued "Salmon is farmed and dangerous."

However, the levels were so low, at 0.002-0.005 mg/kg that the authorities declared "We would not expect any of the residues detected by the laboratory to have an effect on health either in the short term or long term." It is likely that they are historical residues because these pesticides are known to be persistent in the environment.


1. At 10:16 on Mar 21, 2014, D. Ciaburri wrote:

Actually, for me, pesticide residues in farmed fish are a concern.  When I eat farmed salmon (and I’ve tried several times), I get a severe stomach ache and I’m down for the count for at least half a day.  Wild salmon doesn’t bother me at all.  In fact, I quite enjoy it.

I can’t say if farmed salmon makes me ill because of pesticide residues or due to some other factor, but I wouldn’t discount the pesticides.


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