Just the facts. From the experts.

Do you eat salmon? Is it safe to eat farmed salmon or should you only eat the wild-caught variety? Which is best for polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6? We reached out to Charles R. Santerre, PhD, Professor, at Purdue University to answer a few questions about salmon.

Food Safety

All in all, Dr. Santerre explains that farmed and wild-caught salmon have little difference in terms of food safety. “From a public health standpoint, I would say they are equivalent,” said Dr. Santerre.

Omega-3 and Omega-6

When it comes to commercial fish, salmon has the most omega-3 per serving. Wild salmon acquire their omega-3 by what they eat in their natural environment, and farmed salmon attain their omega-3 based on what they eat. Interestingly, fish do not produce significant amounts of omega-3; it is all based on their dietary intake. Fish farm managers work with feed companies to change the foods farmed salmon eat so that the level of omega-3 can be increased or decreased, based on how that fish will be used.

Dr. Santerre advises that when comparing the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, it is best to look at omega-6 within context. A good rule-of-thumb is that an individual can obtain their omega-3 from fish, and omega-6 from everything else. Some plants are also a source of omega-3s; however, the human body is not a good converter of plant omega-3.


Interested in learning more about omega-3 in your diet? Dr. Santerre created an awarding-winning phone application for pregnant women concerned about fish food safety called “Fish4Health.” This app allows women to track their intake of fish and see what their omega-3, mercury, and PCB intakes are. It not only tracks their eating, but compares how their intake compares to the best recommendations available. For more information on this app, visit the website here.

Looking for more resources? Dr. Santerre suggested this YouTube video from the Florida Department of Health.  



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