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Environmentalists to Sue Farmed Salmon Industry

by Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - January 23, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO -- The farmed salmon industry faces legal action in California for failing to warn consumers that the fish contain what environmental groups say are potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health filed notice last week of their intent to sue 50 salmon farms, fish processors and grocery chains under a California anti-toxics law.

The legal action comes after a major study, published earlier this month in the journal Science, found that farm-raised salmon contains significantly more contaminants than salmon caught in the wild. The study blamed the high concentration of PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, on feed used on fish farms. It recommended that farmers change fish feed and urged consumers to buy wild salmon.

Defendants named in the legal action include major U.S. grocery chains such as Safeway Inc., Kroger Co., Albertsons Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. and farmed salmon producers in Canada and Europe such as Marine Harvest, Panfish and Stolt Sea Farm.

Costco of Issaquah, a major seller of farmed salmon, started a PCB monitoring program three years ago to ensure the safety of its fish, said Craig Wilson, the company's assistant vice president for food safety.

The company's own data conflicted with results from the Science study, showing that Costco farmed salmon contained PCB levels far below limits set by the Food and Drug Administration, Wilson said.

Associated Press
Environmentalists to Sue Farmed Salmon Industry
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 23, 2004

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