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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Farm-raised Salmon Retains Healthy Omega-3s When Baked / May 13, 2013 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service
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Photo: Atlantic salmon. Link to photo information
Baking farm-raised Atlantic salmon maintains its healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids as long as the fish is not over cooked, according to ARS research. Click the image for more information about it.


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Farm-raised Salmon Retains Healthy Omega-3s When Baked

By Rosalie Marion Bliss
May 13, 2013

U.S. producers of farm-raised salmon are working hard to help fill today's growing demand for seafood. Now U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritionist Susan Raatz, physiologist Matthew Picklo, and cooperators have found that farm-raised Atlantic salmon maintains its healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids when baked.

Two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are abundant in oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring. Some data have shown that consuming 250 milligrams daily of EPA and DHA—the amount found in a 3-ounce salmon fillet—is associated with reduced risk of heart-disease.

Raatz and Picklo are with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, N.D. ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency.

While eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids is known to reduce risk of heart disease, it has not been known whether baking causes loss of omega-3s in farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The team also examined the extent to which baking Atlantic salmon alters healthful fatty acids through oxidation that leaves unhealthy compounds, such as toxic omega-3 oxidation byproducts.

The researchers demonstrated that baking salmon to the proper temperature does not decrease its content of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. They found that baking actually decreases the presence of fatty acid oxidation byproducts. Preparing the fish based on restaurant and safety guidelines—to a tender-but-safe 145 degrees Fahrenheit rather than overcooking—was a key factor, according to authors.

The research was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Read more about this research in the May/June 2013 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

Last Modified: 5/13/2013
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