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Farm vs Wild Caught Fish Myth Busters

Farmed vs Wild Caught Fish Myth Busters

Here are Farm vs Wild Caught Fish Myth Busters. There are plenty of fish in the sea, so knowing which one to put on your plate is really important.  Years ago, my Dr. told me that I should ONLY purchase Wild Caught Fish.  So, taking her advice I have only purchased Wild Caught seafood since that day.  We had a long discussion about why I should avoid Farm Raised Fish.

Wild Caught Seafood is generally safer and better for you to consume.  Farm Raised Fish can be raised with antibiotics and hormones.   Often times the Farm Raised fish can be kept in overcrowded tanks which can lead to unsanitary conditions.   You often do not know the source for the Farm Raised Seafood, and it could be grown out of the country where standards are subpar to those in the United States.   Often times farm raised fish has added colors and preservatives so for all of these reasons this is why I only purchase Wild Caught Seafood at the grocery store.  There are no regulations at most grocery stores for the quality of standards for Farm Raised Fish.

Farmed vs Wild Caught Fish Myth Busters:

I recently attended a Whole Foods Market twitter party where they discussed the seafood standards that Whole Foods has and the pros and cons to why you can safely select a good, farmed seafood at Whole Foods Market.  I was unsure so I took some time to do some research.

Poor farming practices are bad like we discussed above.  So that is why Whole Foods Market has their own strict Quality Standards and a third party verification process when it comes to purchasing seafood.  They ensure that their farmed seafood comes from the world’s leaders in environmentally responsible agriculture.

Here are some Fish Facts for Whole Foods that I found in doing my research:

Fish Fact 1:  Are farmed fish raised with antibiotics and hormones?

Whole Foods Market’s Quality Standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, added growth hormones, and poultry and mammalian by-products in feed.  Farms are audited annually by third parties to ensure requirements are being met.

Fish Fact 2:  Are fish kept in overcrowded pens or tanks?

No.  Farmed Seafood sold at Whole Foods Market is raised in carefully monitored environments that are best suited to each species.  For example, trout are raised in systems that mimic a rushing stream and salmon swim in low-density pens and tanks.

Fish Fact 3:  Does fish farming harm the environment and pollute the ocean?

Whole Foods Market Quality Standards require producers to minimize the impacts of fish farming on the environment by protecting sensitive habitats, such as mangrove forests and wetlands.  Producers also monitor water quality to prevent pollution, source feed ingredients responsibility and do not treat nets and pens with toxic chemicals.

Fish Fact 4:  Farmed seafood from other countries shouldn’t be trusted.

Whole Foods Quality Standards apply strict requirements and expectations for all producers in all countries who supply seafood to their stores.  Whole Foods Market ensures where all of the seafood comes from.  Everyone in the supply chain between the water and the store uses a sophisticated program called Trace Register, logging more than 20 pieces of information about every piece of seafood sold at Whole Foods.

Fish Fact 5:  Are farmed fish treated with fake colorants and preservatives?

Pigments used on select species like Salmon and Char must come from non-synthetic sources.  Whole Foods prohibits the use of added preservatives such as sodium bisulfite, sodium tri-polyphosphate (STP) and sodium metabisulfite.

Fish Fact 6:  Are farmed fish genetically engineered?

Whole Foods Quality Standards prohibit cloned or genetically modified animals.  Even if genetically modified fish enters the seafood market, Whole Foods will not carry it.

So at the end of the day what is your decision?  Will you be purchasing Wild Caught or Farm Raised Seafood?  Did you know there was a difference or that some grocery stores don’t have high quality standards like Whole Foods Market does?  I will personally continue to purchase and consume only Wild Caught Seafood UNLESS I am shopping at Whole Foods Market.

Seafood Recipes:

Slow Cooker Seafood Gumbo

Herb & Lemon Butter Tilapia

Cajun Blackened Fish Tacos

Beer Battered Fish Sandwich

BAJA Tilapia

Grill Fired Shrimp

BBQ Salmon

Gluten Free Seafood Recipes:

Gluten-Free Crisp Baked Lemon Cod

Gluten Free Lemon Dijon Shrimp Pasta

Gluten Free Coconut Shrimp with Mango Curry Dip


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  1. I love that you can trust Whole Foods completely – and with them I don’t have to worry. I have always tried to buy ‘wild caught’ (or catch our own), because of GMO’s, but I never really thought about the unsanitary conditions or even growth hormones! I wish other grocery stores would get on the bandwagon so we could always know that our families are eating healthy natural foods. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It is good to know tht the pigments used on select species like Salmon and Char must come from non-synthetic sources.

  3. I’m trying to incorporate more fish in my diet. This research will help me make more informed choices when purchasing seafood. Thank you!

  4. I’ve lived on the South East Florida coast all my life, & catching fish is one of my favorite things to do. When I can’t catch my own fish, farm raised fish is the next best thing. I check my local waterways seasonally for levels of pollutants before catching/consuming wild fish. As well, we should all know where our farm raised fish come from & how well that farm monitors contaminants in their waters.

  5. I love that Whole Foods is keeping their promises and that they are helping us understand their quality regulations.

  6. I can’t believe I am saying this but I would buy farm-raised fish from Whole Foods. I thought I would never buy it anywhere.

  7. I had no idea about this and this was so great to read. I am at whole foods all the time and never ! know which fish to get – now I know that I can get it all at whole foods but I will go for the wild everywhere else.

  8. I am glad to be reading about this. I do like to make and eat Salmon, but I want to be sure it will be healthy for me. I love shopping at Whole Foods.

  9. I’m not a fish eater, but this is definitely some interesting information! I will pass it on to my fish loving friends.

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