In the 2009 comedy “The Slammin' Salmon,” a desperate restaurant owner comes up with a contest to see which waiter can reel in the most money in a night — so they're serving as much salmon as possible.
It’s not a hard sell. Americans eat around 350,000 pounds annually. But buying (or ordering) salmon can be confusing. Here's what you need to know about the differences between wild-caught and farm-raised salmon.
“Farm-raised” means that an aquaculture business herded the fish to market. Some farms are sectioned off in the ocean (which is harmful to the environment); some are pens. Some load the salmon with antibiotics; some don't.
In 2016, Chile used 530 grams of antibiotics per ton of farm-raised salmon; Norway used 1 gram per ton in 2008. And farmed salmon often contains more contaminants, including pesticides.
“Wild-caught” salmon is red-orange in color, and leaner, with a more complex flavor. But beware: One report used DNA typing to reveal that 43% of salmon labeled “wild” is, in fact, farm-raised.
Here’s how to get the best from your salmon:
• Buy fish from a shop that's a member of the Better Seafood Board. It's less likely to be mislabeled.
• Consider wild salmon that's flash-frozen immediately after harvest and vacuum sealed. It's tasty and less expensive than wild fish sold at the counter, which is often just thawed frozen fish.
Dr. Mike's favorite: Wild salmon that's caught, then frozen, during the Alaska salmon run.