Despite the fact that it’s significantly more expensive, many of us choose wild-caught salmon over farm-raised because of its superior nutritional profile. According to Prevention magazine, wild salmon has 32 percent fewer calories and half the fat of farmed salmon. Wild salmon also contains more iron, potassium and calcium than its farmed counterpart, and has less sodium. So, whether you’re at the grocery store or enjoying a meal out, it’s always worth opting for salmon marked “wild,” right?
Not if it’s mislabeled. And unfortunately, according to a new study from conservation group Oceana, two-thirds of the salmon identified as wild on restaurant menus was mislabeled, along with 20 percent of salmon at the grocery store. Forty-three percent of the total salmon sample studied by Oceana was misidentified, and therefore, mis-priced (not to mention missing the higher-quality nutrition patrons thought they were paying for).
So how do you know if you’re really getting what you’re paying for? Ask about salmon’s species, point of origin and whether it was fresh or frozen. When grocers or servers know the fish’s pedigree, it’s more likely to be truly wild. Also pay attention to seasonality: fresh wild salmon is hard to find in winter, so be skeptical of menus advertising it at that time of year. The best way to be sure of your salmon’s provenance, of course, is to catch it yourself. (April marks the beginning of the season in the Pacific Northwest, so get your cheap tickets now!)