Monthly Archives: April 2024

‘Color Added’ in Farmed Salmon

Color added in farmed salmon products – what does it mean and why is it okay?

Whether you’ve seen this wording on the label at a grocery store, or you’re a customer of Seattle Fish and have seen this description on your invoice – here’s the bullet points of what we share with customers:

  • ‘Color added’ means that the salmon were given feed which contains a pigment called astaxanthin. Asataxathin is in the carotenoid community, which gives flamingos their pink coloration, makes crabs orange, and turns salmon meat a pink to red-orange color.
  • Wild salmon take in astaxanthin from eating algae, krill, and other small crustaceans; while farmed salmon have this vitamin mixed in with their food. Asataxathin is a dietary supplement in salmon feed to obtain the desired pink to red-orange color in the fish’s flesh.
  • The color of salmon meat is not specific to if it is farmed or wild-caught and can vary from nearly white to deep red, depending on the salmon’s diet and genetics.
  • Astaxanthin is an antioxidant, a great source of vitamin E, and is popular in human supplements. ‘Color added’ could be reframed as ‘vitamin added’ 😊

The ‘color added’ label is a result of an FDA regulation that requires retailers to label foods containing color additives. Another example of Asathaxathin being added to fish’s feed is rainbow trout.

To the chef, aquaculture advocate, industry member, fish eater reading this – how do we continue to share what ‘color added’ means to the end customer?

Check out our video for this blog post!