The North Atlantic Aquaculture Council is urging Canadians to include more farmed Atlantic salmon from Canada's East Coast in their diets as a "smart, safe and simple" solution towards better nutrition this spring.
The average Canadian adult consumes just one fish serving every 7-10 days, despite Canada's Food Guide recommendations to include two servings of fish, such as salmon, per week.
Naturally low in saturated fat and a lean source of protein, farmed Atlantic salmon from Canada's East Coast offers more than two grams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) per 100 gram serving, according to the trade organisation.
An essential fatty acid that is naturally found in cold water fish, omega-3 DHA has been shown to have a positive effect on heart health and play an important role in the normal development and function of the brain.
Although Health Canada has yet to set official guidelines for daily intake of omega-3s, the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada recently released a joint position paper outlining recommended intake. The paper concluded that for overall health, adults should consume 500 milligrams of long chain omega-3 fatty cids, namely DHA+EPA, per day. Current estimates indicate Canadians' intake of omega-3 DHA is quite low, despite substantial research to support increased consumption.
"A single serving of East Coast Atlantic salmon provides a significant amount of omega-3 DHA," says Pam Lynch, a registered dietitian. "Atlantic salmon is great tasting and easy to prepare, and available fresh all year long. There is really no better way to include this vital nutrient in our diets."
Persistent organic pollutants, such as PCBs, are produced by some industrial processes and present in all aspects of our lives from the clothes we wear to the food we eat.
"The most recent USFDA Market Basket Study shows the absolute amount of organic pollutants, such as PCBs, in salmon is comparable to other sources of protein, including poultry, beef and pork. And in addition, when consumption data is also considered, the amount of PCBs consumed by eating salmon is much lower than from other protein sources. Recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirm the health benefits of consuming farm-raised Atlantic salmon," the North Atlantic Aquaculture Council said.
"Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organisation (WHO) agree that both farm-raised and wild salmon contain similar trace levels of PCBs that are well within current safety guidelines."
"Atlantic salmon farmers from Canada's East Coast work with world-leading experts to ensure their fish is of the highest quality, and continues to be a safe, healthy part of a balanced diet," says Dr Jamey Smith, executive director of the New Brunswick Salmon Growers' Association (NBSGA) and founding member of the NAAC.
"Our members adhere to rigorous, science-based environmental performance standards set by the Government of Canada that are among the most stringent in the country and around the world."