Dead Fish in a Box

The chronicles of a suburban fishpimp trying to keep it rural.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Norwegian Salmon

You might have heard some blurbs in the news about the controversy surrounding farm-raised salmon. The overwhelming majority of it is either false or based on old data. Regardless, the people are now think that eating smoked salmon will give you lung cancer. Garbage.

One of the biggest complaints is that the farmers add canthaxanthin (pronounced: CAN-thuh-ZAN-thin) to the fish feed to, among other things, enhance the color of the flesh. It might sound trivial, color in salmon, but it nearly touched off a riot in Bellevue yesterday at a grocery store that I sell. Now all retailers have to put a little note on the case that says "color added". (note: the farmers who feed the same chemicals to the chickens for pretty egg yolks don't have to label their stuff that way - everyone loves a lobbyist!) The people don't want colored fish in their fridge next to the marichino cherries, ketchup, margarine, cola, jam, mustard, fruit punch, cheese, jello, ice cream, salsa, and eggs.

So we started bringing in this "natural" Atlantic salmon from Norway. It's antibiotic-free and fed with Algaemeal (tm) so the stores don't have to label is as "color added" It's great stuff - raised by Vikings in cool, clean fjord-water of the North. It's Valhalla-approved. Each fish is lovingly hugged and kissed by beautiful, tall, blonde Scandinavian women before they have their heads lopped off, are filleted, and thrown in a styrofoam box full of ice.

Now, I write all this to give y'all a little background. The following is the transcript from a conversation that I just had with an actual seafood department manager at local grocery store - a person one would trust to be a seafood expert, to be able to answer all of one's seafood questions. And, as Dave Barry so often writes, I am not making this up.

Hello, this is John
-Hey I've got a question about that new Norwegian salmon.
OK, shoot
-Where is it from.
Uh, Norway.
-No, I know it's Norwegian Salmon, but where is the farm.
Somewhere in Norway. I don't know exactly what fjord.
-Oh, it's not from Washington?
No, they farm Atlantic salmon all over the world, Chile, Canada, here, Norway, Ireland & Scotland...
-No, not Atlantic - this is the Norwegian salmon I'm talking about.
Yes it's Atlantic salmon raised in Norway.
-But I thought it was Norwegian.
It is Norwegian.
It's the same specie of fish they raise here, but they do it better in Norway.
-You mean it comes from all the way over there?
Yes. They call it Norwegian, because it's from Norway.
-So, it's not local.
No. Norway is very far from here.
-Oh.........So it'
Yeah - how many boxes want?

And I thought the Tourists in Alaska were bad.

If any of you are looking for information on what the Salmon farmers are doing to improve their products check out this link



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