Saturday, May 19, 2012

Say, what?

In making consumer choices, most of us don't have time for careful sorting of fact from fiction. As a result, we rely on sources presumed to be accurate and free of bias.

For years, I've subscribed to and relied upon non-commercial Consumer Reports for general guidance. In the last decade, for food and cooking related subjects, I've paid attention to Christopher Kimball's intensely commercial and very successful enterprises: Cooks Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, etc.

Any trust I placed in the Kimball empire was challenged by misinformation broadcast today on WGBH, the most important supplier of PBS network programs. The subject was salmon, wild and farmed, and America's Test Kitchen's expert was Ian Davison of Constitution Seafoods, Inc. of Boston MA. He said this,
"Wild salmon, comes from the west coast of U.S., usually costs a lot more...
"Also, wild - I don't know where it's been. It has a higher chance for PCBs and mercury than the controlled environments of farm raised salmon..."
I'm suspicious when a putative expert speaks with certainty about any controversial subject and this is a prime example. The statement from a person marketing farmed salmon seems particularly egregious, especially when the claim is broadcast nationally by PBS. It is directly opposite to findings in a peer reviewed paper published in SCIENCE under the title Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon. It includes this finding:
"...Having analyzed over 2 metric tons of farmed and wild salmon from around the world for organochlorine contaminants, we show that concentrations of these contaminants are significantly higher in farmed salmon than in wild. European-raised salmon have significantly greater contaminant loads than those raised in North and South America..."
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  1. Debunking so-called experts with bad info and flawed logic seems to be a full-time job nowadays and this re farmed salmon vs wild is another great example - thanks for posting it.
    Note in the G-8 declaration that global warming is now not a crisis, merely a challenge - which I agree with. But for years the expert scientists were wrongly trying to tell us it's an urgent life-or-death matter when really it's merely just one more among many problems that humanity is "challenged" to address, like poverty, food shortages, underemployment and corruption in financial houses, etc.

  2. anonymous 6:41
    I ask you to take this logic one step further and imagine all the problems you mention occuring a the same time, as is happening as we speak.Perhaps the expert scientists were rightly telling it's a life or death matter.
    The g8 declaration means little to a polar bear but than as always this is a humanity thing??

  3. There is a global warming crisis. I as a child grew up in Prince George. When you dug into the ground, perma frost was not uncommon. In the 50's when in high school we were told that the earth is entering the early stages of the new ice age. Now, 50 years later, we're told global warming is a common occurance despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary and it's rare to impossible to find perma frost.

    Keep telling the lie and it becomes indistinguishable from the truth.

  4. G. Barry StewartMay 20, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    Ron, I hope that Norm will let you edit your piece, as you seem to be contradicting yourself... giving proof that PG permafrost is gone, then saying that there's overwhelming evidence that there is no global warming.

  5. Reality Check Ron S.

    You know what a picture is worth, right? Well have a look at the charts.

    Enough of the "Global Warming Crisis" hypebole. It's Global Climate Change and it would seem that it's been going on for at least the past 400,000 years. Now a short read:

  6. unfortunately for us, we live in a country being ruled by people we cannot trust as proven on so many issues that have come ot our attention since coming into power. Too many issues!
    These people have an agenda and that agenda is to pollute. not only to pollute but to drastically increase the amount of pollution. This of course is nothing new nor too alarming in itself but the thing that should be very worrisome to us all is the fact that this government has now put a muzzle on it's own scientists...OUR OWN SCIENTISTS. The very people we rely on to find the truth and possibly some answers as to how we deal with this issue. We are not given access to their findings, we are effectivly cut off from any information that we can then use to make decisions.
    Any sane minded person realizes that we can't simple shut of the pumps tommorrow as that would be chaos but to ignore the problem and increase the potential of the problem may also lead to chaos.
    One thing though is for certain and that is that the way our current government has chosen to deal with this issue is absurd to say the least. possibly criminal.

  7. I have not, and will never purchase farmed salmon. If only everyone would adopt this very simple solution. No market. No industry!

  8. Norm, this TED talk has been causing a bit of a stir. Have a look (5 minutes) I think you'll like it:

  9. If the current virus affecting farmed salmon affects the wild population--and I don't see how it cannot--the entire argument is moot.

  10. I was shocked to see, how much the glaciers in the Rockies have receded, since I had lived there.

    In Durban, there were deep concerns of global warming. And, I mean deep concern. When scientists have found acid in the ocean, right up to the shores of BC, you bet that's bad news. The seas are getting an overdose of Carbon Dioxide. If the seas die, we die. If we don't get rid of fossil fuels, the planet will get rid of us.

    But, it's as they say. Man is the most destructive animal on earth, and the most stupid one at that.

  11. In your intro you said 'most of us don't have time …'. Isn't it time that we stop playing that card. It is because we are so 'so busy', that would be of couse, the make work that some how makes us feel more important that we just let ourselves be programmed to believe that all the experts are correct. Could it be that we have been programmed into believing? After all if you are not able to raise your head from all the work and toil them we won't notice how we are being 'robbed blind'.

  12. Speaking of stupidity did you hear that Harper was giving lessons to the new pres of Framce on how to impose more austerity measure and that he, the French pres was completely wrong in his belief that austerity doesn't work. Speaking of expert opinions, that is just another dog and pony show from our punchy PM. And people believe his crap. I guess all those 'to busy' people would benefit from reading your column.

  13. There are only two life forms on the planet, that will exhaust their food supply and destroy their environment, here on earth.

    One is bacteria. The other is man. So we really are the most intelligent species on the planet, eh? So much for superior intelligence.



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