Research group denies using ‘designer salmon’

NORWAY’S National Institute of Nutrition and Research (NIFES) has strongly denied reports that it uses so called ‘designer salmon’ when checking whether farmed salmon is safe to eat. For that purpose, it says it analyses more than 12,000 ordinary farmed salmon.
‘Designer salmon’ is the term sometimes given to fish that are bred with extra vitamins and/or omega 3 oils, often for specialist medical uses.
Two weeks ago, an episode of Norway’s NRK’s documentary programme, Brennpunkt, was broadcast, taking a critical look at the Norwegian aquaculture industry and seafood research.
NIFES said it was the focus of extensive attention and viewers could easily be left with the wrong impression of NIFES and its monitoring of Norwegian seafood after seeing the episode.
‘NIFES analyses more than 12,000 farmed salmon annually for relevant undesirable substances, such as medical residues, and persistent organic pollutants,’ a spokesman said.
‘The salmon that is analysed is ordinary farmed salmon, the same type sold in the supermarkets. That is important to underline.
‘Brennpunkt also mentioned that NIFES uses ‘designer salmon’ in its research, which is correct. For example, we have conducted studies on heart patients who have been given a diet of salmon with high, medium and low levels of fish oil in their feed, and on women who have been given a diet of salmon with high and low levels of vitamin D.
‘The research design is described in detail in the publications, and would not be considered to be cheating by any branch of science. In other words, there is no contradiction between conducting research on different levels of nutrients and undesirable substances, on the one hand, and stating that the current recommendations are healthy and safe, on the other.
‘But this designer salmon has nothing to do with our monitoring of the farmed salmon that is available in supermarkets and on people’s dinner tables.’