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Farmed salmon, along with other oily fish, are among the best sources of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids; polyunsaturated fats that are essential in a healthy diet. In fact, a 2011 study found that in general, farmed fish have a higher level of Omega-3 fatty acids than wild fish. The American Heart Association's dietary guidelines recommend that adults eat at least two servings of fish, which are high in Omega-3s, per week. For more information about the health benefits of Omega-3’s, click here.
In addition to high levels of beneficial Omega-3’s, farmed salmon contains significantly lower levels of saturated fat than other meats such as beef, pork or chicken. Saturated fats raise cholesterol levels and tend to increase the risk of heart disease. The World Health Organization recommends that saturated fats be limited to 10% or less of your total caloric intake.
Farmed salmon provides a high-quality, complete protein with all of the essential amino acids required by the body for growth and maintenance. High protein foods also play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy weight as they slow the movement of food through the digestive system so you feel full longer, maintain steady blood sugar levels, and take more energy to digest than carbohydrates or fats.
In addition to being high in Omega-3’s, low in saturated fat, and high in protein, farmed salmon is also low in calories. One three ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains about 175 calories.
For more information about the nutritional and health benefits of farmed salmon please click here.
Mainstream Canada follows a food safety policy which outlines our committments to the best food safety standards in everything we do.
Our salmon are grown in the clean ocean waters of remote British Columbia, under some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world and we take great care in ensuring our product is raised in the most hygienic conditions possible. Each fish is tracked from its parent fish, to the hatchery, to the saltwater farms, all the way through to market, so any potential product concerns can be quickly identified and addressed. Fish health is carefully monitored throughout the life cycle and Mainstream Canada minimizes the use of antibiotics through careful husbandry, vaccination against common diseases and disinfection procedures. No hormones are used in farmed salmon production.
Our salmon are randomly tested by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for therapeutant residues and other environmental contaminants on a regular basis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also randomly test product entering the USA. In addition, Mainstream Canada exceeds regulatory testing by conducting its own food safety testing protocols. All tests consistently demonstrate that residue and contaminants in our product fall far below CFIA and FDA safe levels.
Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry states that farmed salmon exhibit metal levels that are equivalent to or lower than, that observed in other foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, honey and meats and concludes:
“Estimates of human dietary exposure indicate that human health risks associated with trace metal exposure via consumption of farmed and wild British Columbia salmon are negligible.” - Barry C. Kelly, Michael G. Ikonomou, David A. Higgs, Janice Oakes, and Cory Dubetz. (2008).
Similar results have been obtained from tests comparing PCB levels in farmed and wild salmon.
PCBs are persistent organic pollutants which are found in all levels of the food chain and in all kinds of food. They are also present in the air we breathe and the water we drink, so it is important for people to choose foods which provide the most health benefits while minimizing the intake of these compounds.
Farmed salmon provides one of the highest levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids available in any form of protein. It also has very low PCB levels, making it a healthy choice.
Testing conducted in 2004 by Salmon of the Americas (SOTA) and by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC), found PCB levels in farmed salmon to be 11.5 parts per billion (ppb), while wild sockeye and pink salmon contained, 10.0 and 8.2 ppb, respectively. The USFDA tolerance level for PCB’s in food is 2000 ppb – approximately 200 times greater than that found in both farmed and wild salmon.
Another study comparing wild and farmed salmon in British Columbia found that PCB and mercury levels in farmed salmon are extremely low. It concluded:
"The present findings support the recommended weekly consumption guidelines for oily fish species (includes all BC salmon sources) for cardio-protective benefits as made by the American Heart Association and the UK Food Standards Agency."
Health Canada's Tolerable Daily Intake level for PCBs is 1000 ppb per day. You would have to eat an entire 12-pound salmon by yourself for dinner to even come close to that daily limit.
It's also important to remember that although the other foods we eat may have fewer PCBs, we eat a lot more of them than we eat salmon.
For more information on PCBs click here.
Our processing facilities and product are also inspected regularly and audited by the CFIA to ensure food safety requirements and compliance with our HACCP based Quality Management Plan for Fish and Seafood (QMP).
In our ongoing commitment to food safety and quality, in Fall 2009 Mainstream Canada achieved International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) certification across our operations. QMS is a systemic approach to managing the organization's processes so that the organization meets customers' quality expectations, and achieves regulatory compliance, while aiming for continual improvement.
And in 2011, Mainstream Canada's Food Safety management system was certified to ISO 22000:2005 standards by an independent auditor. The system follows Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles, which were originally developed by NASA in the 1960s to make sure food for its astronauts was safe.
The company's ISO 22000-certified Food Safety management system is a tool which Mainstream uses to scrutinize its production processes and the products it provides. It allows Mainstream to identify potential hazards involved in food production, and put controls in place to address those hazards. By doing so, it helps the company proactively reduce the risks of food-borne issues.
Mainstream Canada's Food Safety management system is based on HACCP principles approved by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.