Is Farm-Raised Fish Safe?

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Q. I have seen a lot of conflicting information about the safety of farmed-raised fish. I stopped buying farm-raised salmon years ago because of the concern. How does farm-raised trout stack up to other fish in terms of nutrition and safety? Where does most of the supply come from in USA?

A. Unfortunately, this issue is a moving target.  Exponential growth in aquaculture and the pressure to control costs means that procedures are constantly evolving.  If watchdog groups make enough noise about a safety or nutrition concern, the industry often changes practices in response.  So, something that was a concern a few years ago may no longer be a problem. (See, for example: Farmed salmon gets an anti-inflammatory makeover.)   However, newer concerns may have cropped up in the meantime.

The best resource I’ve found to keep up with these issues is Seafood Watch. These guys are working hard to stay on top of all of these issues and to provide up-to-date resources for consumers trying to make safe and responsible choices. They have a number of tools for consumers, including a mobile app for your smart phone or a low-tech wallet card, as well as in-depth reports on  individual fish.  According to the fact-sheet on farmed trout, most of the farm-raised trout in the U.S. is produced in Idaho, with a minimum of negative environmental impacts. They consider it an excellent choice.

About Monica Reinagel

A licensed nutritionist, noted author, and trained chef, Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS, is creator of the #1-ranked Nutrition Diva podcast (, author of the Nutrition Over Easy blog (, and is a frequent contributor to leading health and lifestyle websites and magazines.
Monica's books include Amazon best-seller The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, as well as The Life Extension Revolution: The New Science of Growing Older without Aging (with Philip Miller, M.D.) and The Secrets of Evening Primrose Oil. Her latest book is Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About (
Monica holds a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and is a board-certified nutrition specialist. She's the creator of the IF Rating system, a scientific method of predicting the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects of foods. Professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the American College of Nutrition, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She makes her home in Baltimore, MD. Connect with Monica on Facebook (