When you settle in for dinner after a long day of classes, usually the last thing on your mind is the origin of your food. It should probably be one of the first things you consider.
While the recent report on toxin levels in farmed salmon may not provide conclusive information about the actual risks to human health, its findings contribute to a worldwide trend. Many of the foods we love to eat are in trouble -- and ironically, we are the ones endangering them.
The report, published in Science last week, found high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and pesticides in farmed salmon around the world, although stock raised in the Atlantic Ocean appeared particularly prone to the contaminants. The main culprit appears to be the food our fish consume, a combination of oceanic fish from around the world; the mixture is processed into fish oil and fishmeal. Salmon feed consists of fish caught throughout the world's oceans, like anchovies. These fish are exposed to varying levels of contaminants during their life spans, including chemicals the United States banned decades ago when unintended side effects became clear.