Seafood labeling can help limit confusion in your next fish or shellfish purchase. In April 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture mandated that seafood products sold in supermarkets display stickers listing the item’s country of origin and whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught. Although some farmed fish are both ecologically sound and good for your health, many varieties, farmed salmon in particular, are raised in nonsustainable ways and contain more toxins than wild fish.
In addition, look for a Seafood Safe label, which indicates that the item is tested regularly for PCBs and mercury and that it meets quality assurance guidelines for that species. Visit www.seafoodsafe.com for a list of participating fish distributors. FishWise, a nonprofit organization for sustainable seafood, also provides labels noting the source of certain fish. Visit www.fishwise.org for a list of FishWise markets in your area.