Farmed salmon is safe for pregnant women

Pregnant women are not exposed to harmful amounts of pollutants by eating farmed salmon. Oily fish has a positive effect on the development of fetuses and infants.

An example of a delicious salmon plate
Today, pregnant women do not eat enough fish to meet the body's need for omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like salmon have a positive effect on the development of the central nervous system in fetuses and infants. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

In 2014, the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) published a comprehensive report confirming that no one, including pregnant women or women of childbearing age, is exposed to harmful amounts of pollutants by eating farmed salmon. The main pollutants in wild and farmed salmon are PCBs, dioxins and mercury. According to VKM, it is safe to eat over a kilogram of farmed salmon a week without a risk of reaching harmful levels of these substances.

 

Oily fish is good for fetal development

Today, pregnant women do not eat enough fish to meet the body's need for omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like salmon have a positive effect on the development of the central nervous system in fetuses and infants. Therefore, both pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to eat more fish. VKM concludes that the health benefits of eating salmon are so great that they outweigh the negligible risk posed by the current levels of contaminants in salmon. Read more about the nutritional content of salmon here [internal link].

 

New advice for pregnant women

Previously, VKM advised pregnant women and women of childbearing age to limit their intake of oily fish. However as the fish oil in salmon feed has been partly replaced by vegetable ingredients, the amounts of PCBs, dioxins and mercury in farmed salmon have decreased. Today, farmed salmon even contains less contaminants than fatty wild fish. Read more about why fish oil has been replaced with vegetable ingredients here [internal link].

 

Useful links

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM) about contaminants in salmon (in Norwgian only)

NIFES' recommendations to pregnant women