Boycott ‘organic’ farmed salmon this Christmas urge environmental groups

Published by Ian Carey on

December 22nd 2016

A campaign which has called on consumers to boycott farmed salmon this year have included ‘organic’ farmed salmon because of the use of chemicals.

The campaign by 10 environmental groups under the banner of takes aim at the appalling environmental impact of salmon farms as well as the human health risks of this practice.

The Boycott Farmed Salmon’s 2016 Christmas campaign has added the word ‘ORGANIC’ to its campaign’s name after the Minister refused to enforce the EU Regulations which require that whenever chemical medicines are used on organic products ‘treated stock shall be clearly identifiable’.

According to the 10 Irish environmental groups that support the campaign, the requirement is contained in the European Union regulations governing organic production. Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv raised the issue of chemical treatment in the Oireachtas last year when, referring to the chemical treatments, he said that he ‘will not touch farmed salmon because it is a totally unnatural product.’

In 2015, the campaign published a pre-slaughter Department of Agriculture laboratory analysis that showed the presence of 10 chemicals, 6 approved by Marine Harvest, the Norwegian multi-national that produces almost all of Ireland’s organic farmed salmon.

‘However, the Minister for Agriculture claims that the regulation does not mean that the treated stock shall be clearly identified to the consumer. He claims that the identification required is solely for the benefit of the producers to ensure withdrawal periods are met’, the campaign spokesman explained.

The Food Safety Authority initially told the groups that ‘It is a fair point to make – that is treated stock are to be clearly identifiable.’

But after consulting with Department of Agriculture, Food and the Maine and with the Marine Institute, they advised the campaign and the Minister that this was ‘an issue of record keeping, not labelling of packaging. ‘Organic operators meet this requirement’ the Minister told the Oireachtas in a written parliamentary reply earlier this year, ‘by maintaining information at their premises’.

The campaign spokesman said this made no sense. ‘The Regulations state clearly that ‘treated stock shall be clearly identifiable’. Farmed salmon are treated with a range of chemicals which while approved by the regulatory authorities the consumer may not wish to ingest himself.’

‘The purpose of organic regulations are so that consumers can differentiate chemically treated products from products that have not been chemically treated. We urge the public to boycott organic farmed salmon this Christmas if they have any respect for those who buy and sell organic products in a relationship of trust with the public.’


Environmental Groups supporting the Boycott

  • An Taisce
  • Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA)
  • Forest Friends
  • Friends of the Earth
  • Friends of the Irish Environment
  • Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages
  • Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture
  •  Irish Federation of Seal Anglers
  • Irish Seal Sanctuary
  • No Salmon Farms at Sea
  • Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture
  • Salmon Watch Ireland
  • Save Bantry Bay
  • The Woodland League

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.