Test: farmed salmon better than wild salmon

Stiftung Warentest checks the quality of salmon fillets

Farmed salmon are of better quality than wild salmon. In a current study, Stiftung Warentest tested 25 salmon fillets and found that salmon from fish farms performs better than wild salmon - at least for frozen products. In general, the quality of fresh salmon from the fish counter is higher than that of frozen products, according to another result of the study.

Since Norwegian and Chilean farmers have been growing salmon in bulk, the popular edible fish has been “available for small money at discounters,” reports the Stiftung Warentest. The auditors now investigated the question of whether inexpensive salmon from aquaculture can match the quality of wild salmon. 25 salmon fillets were tested for this purpose. In a further investigation, the Stiftung Warentest also carried out an assessment of the production conditions as well as animal and environmental protection at the manufacturers.

Salmon fillets in the test In the test of the 25 salmon fillets - four fresh and 16 frozen from farmed salmon and five frozen from wild salmon. - First of all, a "sensory assessment" was carried out in which "five trained inspectors assessed the appearance and smell of the fish in raw condition", according to the Foundation's announcement. In addition, appearance, smell, taste and mouthfeel were tested after a water bath preparation in a cooking bag. The sensory assessment was included in the overall assessment of the salmon fillets with 50 percent. In addition, the microbiological quality or the bacterial and pollutant load of the fish was taken into account, as was the concentration of nematodes (nematodes). The packaging and declaration formed another evaluation criterion for the testers.

Fresh fish of the best quality According to the Stiftung Warentest, fresh salmon fillet from the fish counter scored particularly well in the relevant sensory assessment. Only the fresh fish was able to completely convince the testers with its taste, smell and consistency. In contrast, the Stiftung Warentest found significant fluctuations in the taste quality of the frozen fillets. According to the tests, only two of the 21 products tested were “sensory perfect”. Among other things, the testers found a strong fish taste. According to the Stiftung Warentest, six of the 16 samples of frozen farmed salmon checked could at least keep up with the quality of the fresh fish from the fish counter. In the enzymatic test, the testers also found that the fresh fish was actually fresh and not frozen and then thawed again. The declaration also consistently voted for wild salmon, which can be demonstrated by color pigments that are consumed by wild salmon with crustaceans, which only occur in the open sea, the testers report.

No health-endangering pollutants or germs As part of the pollutant examination, the testers of the Stiftung Warentest checked the concentration of lead, cadmium, mercury, organochlorine pesticides, antibiotics ,. Chloramphenicol, avermectins and triphenylmethane dyes in the salmon fillets. They were not able to determine any harmful effects on the fish - regardless of whether wild or farmed salmon, fresh or frozen fish. However, the negative antibiotic test "does not prove that the salmon never received medication, they could only have broken down," explained the Stiftung Warentest. According to the foundation, the microbiological quality of the salmon fillets was also harmless. Only two of the samples examined showed an increased exposure to non-pathological germs. The total number of bacteria and the exposure to “Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, staphylococci, E. coli, enterobacteria and pseudomonas” were determined. The testers also checked the exposure of fresh fish to lactobacilli, mold and yeast. In another investigation, the fish's exposure to roundworms was recorded, with wild salmon performing significantly worse than farmed salmon. Wild salmon from the Pacific almost always contained nematodes. However, the roundworms die as soon as the fish is salted, frozen or fried.

Discounter salmon with good quality Overall, the rather expensive fresh salmon cut off the freshest paradise in terms of quality in the current study. Close behind is the salmon fillet from the fish counter at Karstadt delicatessen. However, both manufacturers made no statements about the production conditions or the animal and environmental protection. Taking these aspects into account, Stiftung Warentest sees the manufacturer Deutsche See at the front. Only this combines good quality with a high degree of ecological and social responsibility. In terms of quality, however, the frozen fillets from Lidl and Costa at € 2.89 for two fillets were also impressive. The testers attribute the fact that the wild salmon was rated significantly poorer in taste and sensory quality, mainly due to the special processing conditions. For example, the salmon are usually gutted on board the ships as soon as they are caught, then transported frozen to China and processed there. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, are only frozen in the cutting operation and previously only kept on ice.

Health-promoting effects of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon Salmon is valued not only as edible fish, but also because of the health-promoting effects of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains. Among other things, these unsaturated fatty acids are said to have a preventive effect on cardiovascular diseases. They are said to counteract high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack. The omega-3 fatty acids also allegedly reduce the likelihood of a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's or dementia. From a health point of view, increased salmon consumption is definitely recommended. (fp)

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