When is a salmon not a salmon?

by: Angie Kwon, Editor
22 Aug 2018

Bet you can't name all these fish varieties

In the news this week; there have been increasing complaints from consumers in Mainland China over the past months that rainbow trout - an easy to farm fish - is being mislabelled and sold as salmon - a far more premium product.

At WOM Guide, we always take names with a pinch of salt. Just because the name wagyu appears on the menu, or if we’re told our pork is iberico, or our fries are laced with truffle, doesn’t automatically guarantee that what we’re getting is high-quality. It doesn’t guarantee that we’re getting what we expect at all. So this story piqued our interest.

In response to the salmon/trout complaints, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA) has stepped in with a solution. But rather than cracking down on mis-selling, they have taken a more straightforward approach. According to news reports, CAPPMA has ruled that trout can now be labelled as salmon, therefore no fraud has occurred.

There is some logic to the ruling, both species of fish belong to the family salmonidae, even though salmon live in saltwater and trout in freshwater. The big problem is that, once filleted, it can be hard to tell the difference between salmon meat and trout meat. Pacific salmon is considered safe to eat raw as sashimi or sushi, whereas trout is more likely to become infected with parasites, making it rather less safe to eat raw.

The whole story underlines the importance of using our spending power to support trustworthy suppliers, and staying well-informed enough to know when to be skeptical about the food on our plates.