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Thread: Norwegian farmed salmon: a serious health hazard through Ethoxyquin and other pesticides

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    Avalon Member hohoemi's Avatar
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    Default Norwegian farmed salmon: a serious health hazard through Ethoxyquin and other pesticides

    This information is from a documentary called "Poisonous Fish: The Big Health Lie" that aired in November 2014, produced by Austrian national TV (ORF): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Sl_wjiOyI&app=desktop (German: "Giftiger Fisch: Die große Gesundheitslüge")


    Norwegian farmed salmon suffer extremely unhealthy living conditions and are fed toxic substances:
    - Fish from the Baltic Sea contamined by industrial wastes
    - Ethoxyquin to preserve the fat in those fish
    The accumulation of this makes them "5 times more poisonous than any other food available in a normal supermarket":

    y axis "Concentration of various Persistent Organic Pollutants"
    x axis "Hamburger, whole milk, egg, apple, potato, codfish, farmed salmon"

    Fat tissue in rats. Feeding farmed salmon to rats made them "fat" and "suffer from diabetis". Why did polluted salmon make them fat? Fat binds toxins.

    Both above graphics are from a researcher called Jérôme Ruzzin, University of Bergen (Norway), Department of Biology, (an "Environment toxicologist" according to documentary) . You can look up his publications at https://www.researchgate.net/profile...n/publications for some "hard data" on the matter.

    Further details

    Origins of the problem. Norwegian farmed salmon...

    #1 is fed contamined fish from the Baltic Sea

    The Baltic Sea is one of the most contamined bodies of water in the world, with 9 surrounding countries polluting it with industrial by-products and other wastes, which then accumulate rather than being diluted, due to not enough interchange of water between the Baltic Sea and the rest of the ocean. One third of the Baltic Sea is considered dead. Many of the fish "are contamined with mercury or radioactive substances from atomic power plants". Fatty fish especially contain high levels of dioxins, which even in small amounts can affect hormones and have carciogenic effects.

    A factory in Denmark* producing fish pellets for salmon farms uses about 20% of fish from the Baltic sea, specifically "fat fish" since they have "more protein, oil and so on". Many of these fish are considered unfit for human consumption, and are "instead" made into fish feed. This multiplies the accumulation of toxins in farmed salmon in comparison to wild salmon.

    * Only this one factory is shown or mentioned - persumably it is representative.

    #2 is fed the pesticide Ethoxyquin

    In the aforementioned factory in Denmark which produces fish feed pellets, Ethoxyquin is added as an "antioxidant" in liberal amounts, in order to stop the fat from going rancid.

    Container of Ethoxyquin used for the production of pellets. The black X on orange ground means it's a harmful substance. In this case "harmful when swallowed", see http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/...g=de&region=AT

    Some bullet points about Ethoxyquin:
    - Developed in the 1950s by Monsanto
    - Used as a pesticide in 1965
    - Classified as a harmful substance (Xn) in the EU *
    - Banned in the EU as a pesticide since 2011 (the reason seems to be too little toxiological data for evaluation) *
    - Still permitted in animal feed in the EU*
    - Maximum permitted value 50 microgrammes per kg of meat in the EU.
    - No official maximum value for fish in the EU, despite there being maximum values for just about every other food, including kangoroo meat and reptile meat
    - Fish from aquacultures contain 10 to 20 times the general amount permitted for other food, up to ~1000 microgrammes
    - Not much is known about the effects of Ethoxyquin: The existing EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) report is full of holes (no data on carciogenity, long term effects, fertility, foetal development, neurotoxicity etc.), but EFSA isn't planning to commission further research**. EFSA couldn't even calculate a recommended intake because of a lack of data.***
    - One of the few facts that a researcher was able to find out, but not publish (see Victoria Bohne), is that it crosses the blood-brain barrier

    * Some details from German Wikipedia added
    ** Because Ethoxyquin is banned in the EU, no further research is needed.
    *** The maximum amounts were derived from the Codex Alimentarius

    Farmed fish (organic is persumably "organically" farmed) contains high levels of Ethoxyquin; wild fish contains none. From the Swiss institute for food testing and veterinary affairs "Service de la consommation et des affaires vétérinaires"

    Research is being blocked

    There is practically no data available on Ethoxyquin: The documentary makers were only able to find a single study from Norway. One of the Authors is Victoria Bohne, formerly from the national research institute NIFES . She has since been forced to leave her job (officially she quit), which made her lose her official status as a researcher, which makes her unable to publish other papers she had prepared about this in a peer reviewed journal. She admits off camera that pressure had been exerted on her and there had been efforts to falsify her study.

    Bohne found out that no one, including the creator Monsanto, knows (or admits to knowing) about the possible health effects of Ethoxyquin. She researched the substance for several years and found, among other results which weren't discussed, that Ethoxyquin crosses the brain-blood barrier.

    Another researcher, Dr. Claudette Bethune from the instutute for nutrition and marine research has gone public in 2006 and made similar claims, accusing her superiors and the fishery ministry of playing with people's health, because the institute makes sure only research beneficial for the fishery industry is published. Dr. Bethune was also fired (officially she quit voluntarily).

    Fishery minister with financial ties to the fishery industry

    Kurt Oddekalv, environmental activist, explains:
    "Four years ago [2010?], the research budget in the area of Ethoxyquin was severly reduced. This was done through pressure from the former Norwegian fishery minister [Lisbeth Berg-Hansen] (...). The minister herself created the current regulations for fishery. She had full control over the public health authority and everything that had to do with fish farming. She exploited her power. She wanted fish to be sold at all costs, regardless of whether he's sick or not, so that the farmers don't lose any money. This never happened before in Norway. She's the pivotal point of this whole matter." [He was translated into German in a more diplomatic tone, however what he really ends with is "...she is a rotten piece of...".]

    The documentary maker got a 5 minute slot for an interview with Mrs. Berg-Hansen during the international fishery fair 2013, however once it became clear what he wanted to ask about, the intervew was broken off immedietly by her publicist. She also had nothing to say about Ethoxyquin, about which she claimed to know nothing. However, this is a very unlikely statement, as she was a consultant for four years (1988-92) for the world market leader for farmed fish feed. From 1992-6 she was a political advisor in the Ministry of Fisheries, after which she had various duties in the salmon industry, including "2008 Fish farmer, SinkaBerg-Hansen AS", "Member of the Board of Aker Seafoods" and "Chair of the Board of the Norwegian Seafood Federation". Most condemning of all, during her period in government, an investment company she had a 88.89% majority in owned 10.93% shares of one of the biggest salmon farms in Norway, where other of her family members also owned 12,24% and 9.19% shares.

    #3 lives in a toxic environment

    This section follows Kurt Oddekalv, a Norwegian environmentalist, who secretly investigates the fish farms with a remote-controlled under-water robot.

    The ground below the fish enclosures, easier to see on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...l_wjiOyI#t=615

    "There's bacteria everywhere. The ground is strewn with waste products. Under the fish enclosure debris lies 15 meter high. A mixture of feed remains, excrement, and chemicals, which pollute the salmon cooped up above. It's unbelievably contamined here. (...) The ground of the fjord is completely destroyed. In addition, gas is being produced."

    "The poison being sprayed here [video of people in safety garments spraying stuff into the water of the fish farm] was used in the first world war to gas people. The agressive chemicals are used to fight the main problem of Norwegian aquaculture: The 'sea louse' [maybe Cymothoa exigua?]. (...) By now, this parasite is resistant against most pesticides, and the breeders have to employ increasingly stronger chemicals. These, however, also affect the fish, which can increasingly suffer from genetic mutations."

    A farmed codfish born with a mouth that cannot be closed. "It takes 8 generations for this kind of defect to disappear again [after the codfish escapes into the wild, as this one did, and interbreeds with wild fish]."

    A farmed salmon with genetic defects: The tail is much smaller than in wild salmon, and the skin doesn't cover the fins.

    Other complaints by Kurt Oddekalv: The meat quality is bad, it breaks apart when pressed. Also, contrary to wild salmon with 5-7% fat, farmed salmon has 15-34% fat, which provides all the more storage for toxins, as fat is where toxins are accumulated.


    Personal conclusion:

    1) While having a government regulatory agency declare a substance as hazardous or safe isn't proof of either (as seen in the outlawing of various beneficial substances and permission of harmful ones), the fact alone that Ethoxyquin crosses the blood-brain makes it something to be careful with. (And... Did Monsanto ever create anything beneficial...?)

    2) I'll have to look into that later, but there was a mention elsewhere on the web of a possible connection between Ethoxyquin and the life-expectancy reduction associated with commercial pet food in the US.

    2) I wasn't aware that there was anything worse going on with aquacultures than with any other commercial farming practice (horrible living conditions for the animals + too many antibiotics + a chance of GMOs), so realising that this is yet another unsafe food is good to know.
    Last edited by hohoemi; 31st March 2015 at 17:05. Reason: Original German name of documentary added
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    Avalon Member drneglector's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norwegian farmed salmon: a serious health hazard through Ethoxyquin and other pesticides

    Thanks for this info. Here are some additional things one might want to know...

    Wild salmon get their pink to red flesh from the diet they consume including crustaceans such as shrimp or krill. Since farmed salmon eat a diet of pellets, chemically produced astaxanthin are added to the food to create that appealing ‘salmon’ colour. Or else the salmon would have had white flesh.

    In the marketplace: If the salmon isn’t labelled, you should ask the retailer or restaurant if it is farmed or wild. If the label reads “Atlantic” salmon then it is farmed. If the label simply reads “fresh salmon”, there is a good chance it is farmed. Always ask. If it’s farmed, don’t buy it and tell the store to stop selling it until the industry adopts better practices.

    Here's a good link:

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    Avalon Member hohoemi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norwegian farmed salmon: a serious health hazard through Ethoxyquin and other pesticides

    Thank you for that information!

    Apparently even farmed rainbow trout are fed astaxanthin in order to produce a salmon-like flesh colour, with are then sold in the US as "steelheads", however in German-speaking countries they are called "salmon trout" (Lachsforelle), probably to mislead customers that they are buying some type of salmon.

    On a side note, the problems with Norwegian salmon farming may also apply to other farmed fish in the area.
    1) In the documentary, the graphic showing levels of Ethoxyquin is labeled as "Fish" rather than "Salmon", which hints at the fact that other farmed fish is fed the same polluted feed pellets.
    2) The fish that can't close its mouth is a farmed codfish from the area, not a salmon, but no emphasis is put on this difference (I missed it before re-listening to write the first post). Rather, it is treated exactly the same as salmon.
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    Spain Avalon Member Michael Moewes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Norwegian farmed salmon: a serious health hazard through Ethoxyquin and other pesticides

    How can it be a health problem. I'm very much suprised that there are still Canibals in this forum. I cannot understand how someone on the spiritual path can still feed on seinten beings. Animals have souls, therefore they are my brothers and sisters. I dont eat relatives.
    Live healthy and vegan


    I'm more concerned for these poor animals.

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