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A new study by the Pew Charitable Trust charges that farm-raised salmon contain significantly higher concentrations of PCBs, dioxin and other cancer-causing contaminants than wild salmon. The study recommends that farm-raised salmon should only be eaten infrequently, and said it was making the recommendations based on guidelines published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The study recommended that to eat more than one eight-ounce portion of farmed salmon a month poses an "unacceptable cancer risk" for consumers.

Wild salmon, on the other hand, can be eaten between four and six times a month, according to the report.

The US Food and drug Administration (FDA) Office of Plant and Dairy Foods and Beverages challenged the study's conclusions. "We've looked at the levels found . . . and they do not represent a health concern," FDA's Terry C. Troxell told The Washington Post. "In the end, our advice is not to alter consumption of farmed or wild salmon."

In addition, the argument is made by FDA that contaminant levels are 10 percent of what they were three decades ago, and that the health benefits of even farmed salmon far outweigh the cancer risk.

Published reports say that 90 percent of the fresh salmon consumed in the US is farm-raised.
KC's View:
We've noticed that some supermarket seafood counters are doing a better job of labeling salmon as being farm-raised vs. wild. It hardly is universal, but you have to give some credit for trying.

The problem, it seems to us, is that retailers and consumers are faced with the same dilemma:

Who do you believe?

And how can two approaches to the same subject and the same statistics come up with such vastly different conclusions?

We have no great wisdom to impart on this one. We like salmon. It is one of our favorite meals, and we eat it probably once a week. Until the evidence against it mounts, we're probably not going to change or eating habits.

But we'll be watching.