Wild salmon or farmed salmon - which is better?

Wild salmon or farmed salmon - which is better? / Health News

Salmon is a superfood?

The salmon is the most popular food fish of the Germans at around three kilograms per year. Completely correct, because it contains not only a lot of good ingredients, but is also a good precaution against heart attack and stroke. This is true for many fish species - but none is as tasty as the pink king of the fjords.


  • Salmon is a superfood?
  • Where does the pink color come from??
  • The fatty acids
  • recommendation
  • nutrient bomb
  • Farmed salmon or wild salmon? A surprise
  • Antibiotics in farmed salmon
  • Pesticide in salmon feed
  • Organic salmon is better
  • The salmon louse
  • Wild salmon is not the solution
  • The goodness seal
  • Frozen or fresh?
  • Genlachs
  • Conclusion

Where does the pink color come from??

In the case of wild salmon, the coloring is produced by feeding the fish of small crabs and shrimp. They in turn feed on algae containing the red pigment astaxanthin. When farmed salmon shrimp meal, red dry yeast and algae are fed extra for the coloring. On the taste or health quality of these ingredients have no effect - but the eye finally eats with.

Salmon is the most popular food fish in the world. (Image: gitusik / fotolia.com)

The fatty acids

The salmon-containing ingredients are of high health value - especially the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Depending on the study, the benefit varies between very small and very clear. However, especially in the prevention of heart attack and stroke, the fish seems to live up to its reputation.

According to Antje Gahl, press spokeswoman for the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), after evaluating more than 50 studies on this topic: "These fatty acids appear to lower unfavorable blood lipids and increase low blood pressure, to counteract high blood pressure, to improve the fluidity of the blood and so reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke. "


The DGE recommends people of all ages to eat fish once or twice a week. Of these, about 70 grams of fatty fish such as salmon, herring or mackerel should make up. An exception are pregnant women. They should enjoy salmon - just like any other fish - thoroughly cooked and never consume raw food, otherwise parasites could be included.

nutrient bomb

Salmon contains lots of vitamins, minerals and trace elements, such as vitamins A, D, E as well as calcium, magnesium, iodine, fluorine and selenium. He has no carbohydrates, but a lot of protein and far fewer calories than one would expect in a fatty fish, namely just about 130 kilocalories per 100 grams. Its consumption saturates, but does not make you fat.

Farmed salmon or wild salmon? A surprise

The graduate oecotrophologist Anje Gahl emphasizes that the quality of farmed salmon can absolutely keep up with that of wild salmon. In addition, farmed salmon even contains five times as many long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, as a study by Stiftung Warentest found out.

Farmed salmon is just as good as wild salmon. (Image: kranidi / fotolia.com)

This is because the salmon move much more in the wild and often travel hundreds of miles to get to their spawning grounds. In contrast, farmed salmon produce more fat due to their lower energy consumption.

More than 90 percent of the salmon we eat comes from aqua farms. The craving for the gourmet fish could not be satisfied by the constantly shrinking stocks of wild salmon. Most salmon breed Norway. About 400 million salmon swim there in aquaculture. But also in Scotland, Ireland, China and Chile they are bred in a big way.

Antibiotics in farmed salmon

Many consumers fear that pollutant exposure to salmon from up to 100,000 animals could be very high. In particular, toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium and lead are often suspected, as cold-water fish are more frequently contaminated with these industrial and waste residues. However, the study by Stiftung Warentest shows that in none of the 30 samples from the areas of fresh produce, frozen and smoked salmon did any significant traces of these pollutants appear. Neither in breeding nor in wild salmon.

However, the breeding salmon could be problematic in terms of medication load. Because in earlier tests, he often contained residues of antibiotics. But now farmed salmon are vaccinated very early. In contrast, antibiotics are barely used. Consequently, Stiftung Warentest also found no antibiotic residues in fish from aquaculture.

Pesticide in salmon feed

It's different with ethoxyquin. The substance is added to the mostly vegetable fish food (especially soy) as a preservative. Originally, the poison was used as a plant protection product and is now banned in Europe as a mutagenic and organ damaging substance. In animal feed, it is still allowed. There are limits to meat, eggs and milk, but not to fish. Five of the 30 farmed salmon samples examined by Stiftung Warentest contained the plant toxin. But here too there could be improvements in the future: In EU breeding farms, the addition of this crop protection in fish feed is only allowed until 2020.

Organic salmon is better

The pollutant load on salmon from organic crops is much lower. Although organic salmon comes from large breeding plants, the fish have more space compared to conventional aqua fish farms. In addition, the use of chemistry is largely prohibited. For the preservation of the feed (organic cereals and fish leftovers from sustainable fishing), for example, only vitamin E comes into question, but no poisonous pesticide.

The salmon louse

The organic salmon share one problem with all other farmed salmon: the salmon louse. The parasite attaches itself to the fish, sucks on it over large areas, makes it susceptible to many diseases and threatens so many stocks. The breeders try to come to the louse with ultrasound, cleaner fish or plant extracts in order not to have to resort to the chemical leg. Also a lowering of the cultures is tried, because the salmon louse does not feel well in depths below 25 meters. All these measures could make the popular edible fish more expensive in the next few years and perhaps make it what it used to be: an expensive delicacy and not a commodity.

Wild salmon is not the solution

If you prefer to use wild salmon with regard to chemical stress and parasite infestation, you are wrong. Even that is now being attacked by the salmon louse. In addition to the wild fish nematode worms that are not like the salmon louse on the surface, but live in the flesh. Even if nematodes die off during freezing (minus 20 degrees) and cooking (from 70 degrees) and are harmless to humans, the thought simply spoils your appetite!

Wild salmon is no healthier than farmed salmon. (Image: Alexey / fotolia.com)

The goodness seal

Salmon from organic farming seems to be the best and healthiest choice. But what seal holds, what does it promise? Naturland and the Norwegian organic label Debio have proven to be particularly reliable here. But farmed salmon from conventional aquaculture is usually better than its reputation, because the breeders really strive to improve the conditions for the salmon on and on.

A decision-making aid is provided by the fish seals. In the case of farmed and wild salmon, for example, products bearing the ASC seal (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), which stands for sustainable fishery and responsible aquaculture, are recommended. However, the previously respected MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) seal came under criticism because some of the MSC fisheries seem to be overfishing and using bottom trawls that destroy the flora and fauna of the seabed. For example, the ARD reported in "Story in the First: The Fish Seal Business - The Dark Side of the MSC".

Frozen or fresh?

Health and quality are the nuts and bolts. But what about taste and cooling? Here some gourmets swear by fresh produce, others find frozen salmon just as good. Among the nutrients, the frozen goods are even ahead. Because the animals are usually already shock-frozen at the catch or on the shore, whereby the valuable ingredients are preserved.

In terms of taste, however, the fresh fish is ahead: all samples that tasted "very good" at Stiftung Warentest tasted fresh farmed salmon fillets.
Incidentally, the untreated salmon fillets are particularly conducive to health. On the other hand, smoked salmon, pickled or Stremell salmon should not be consumed too often as they contain a lot of salt and smoke-containing substances such as benzopyrene or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are suspected to favor cancer.

Fresh or frozen salmon? A matter of taste! (Image: safrana / fotolia.com)


As demand grows, there may be even more choices in the future: Canada has recently launched genetically engineered salmon. Breeding salmon was improved with the genes of king salmon and haddock. As a result, it grows much faster and becomes significantly larger than the species known so far. There are also tests with transgenic fish. The salmon gets food from genetically modified grains, which can increase the formation of omega-3 fatty acids. Whether these new breeds will come onto the market in Germany and will prevail remains more doubtful given the much more critical attitude to genetic engineering.


If you pay attention to quality seals, you can enjoy the fish with a clear conscience. The pollution with pollutants is low and usually smaller than with other comparable edible fish. The consumer can choose between organic salmon, wild salmon or farmed salmon from conventional aquatic farms. All of these varieties are full of good ingredients and very valuable for a healthy diet. (Fs)