The name is misleading: Pollock or Alaska pollock have nothing to do with real salmon. Consumer advocates warn that false flag fish poses health risks.
Saithe is a popular food fish among Germans, accounting for 20 percent of the food fish market. Thinly sliced and dyed red, Alaska Pollock often appears to be smoked salmon. But that’s not the case: Pollock has nothing to do with real salmon, warns the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian consumer advice center. Dyed pollock is a so-called salmon substitute.
Alaska pollack is also known as “pacific pollock” and belongs to the cod family. It naturally has white or greyish flesh, whereas real salmon is pink to orange-reddish. Dyes are added to make the inexpensive pollock look like real salmon. “Usually, the azo dyes yellow orange S and cochineal red A are used, which can impair children’s activity and attention. This must be indicated on the packaging,” warn consumer advocates.
E 124 and E 110 are not harmless
As a food additive, cochineal red A bears the designation E124. Yellow-orange S is also called E 110. Since 2010, foods with the dyes have had to bear the following warning: “Can impair children’s activity and attention.” Sunset yellow S and cochineal red A are also known to trigger allergic reactions.
“Consumers who want to buy smoked salmon should take a close look at the labeling on the packaging,” recommends Sandra Reppe from the consumer center in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Salmon substitutes must be labeled as such with the term “salmon substitute” directly below the product name.
Fish fingers are made from pollock
Pollock can often be found in supermarkets as a frozen product – in the form of fish fingers or so-called gourmet fillets. Without dyes, the fish is harmless to health.
Our tip: While Alaska Pollock stocks are currently stable, fisheries often use trawls that touch the bottom and cause major damage there. This can also apply to MSC-certified fisheries, so we can currently only conditionally recommend the seal of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for the purchase of Alaska Pollock. For real salmon, prefer MSC wild salmon from the Northeast Pacific, but eat it infrequently to avoid stressing stocks.