Pacific Supreme is Neither Pacific or Supreme

All the writing about the Big 3, fueled an appetite for salmon. I thought what better way to start off every day this week with a little smoked salmon on bagel. Not two hours after I wrote the Big 3 post, I was purchasing smoke salmon from a grocer in my area who promotes their green image.

O’ but I was taken in by Green Washing. Specifically number 6…fibbing. Using my own criteria for purchasing salmon, I bought Pacific Supreme Smoke Salmon. I thought I was going home with wild caught Pacific salmon. But no…I WAS DUPED!

This morning as I noticed the salmon was paler than I expected from wild caught, I read the back of the package.

Pacific Supreme Smoked Salmon reflects the high product quality standards established by Pacific Supreme more than 15 years ago. Pacific Supreme utilizes select, premium farmed raised Atlantic Salmon, a favorite of gourmet seafood lovers…

Great not only is the salmon not Pacific, it is farm raised. Are you f’in kidding me? Apparently, I am not the only one pissed off by this

I’m attaching a photo of a package of salmon I found at Trader Joe’s in Portland, Oregon. With all the fuss about farm-raised Atlantic salmon vs. wild Pacific salmon, it’s funny to see how far companies will go to confuse people. The package reads: Pacific Supreme Smoked Atlantic Salmon.

I recently was surprised to find that some smoked salmon in the deli section, under the brand name, “Pacific Supreme,” was actually farmed Atlantic salmon.

The even worst part is that it’s awful…I mean really bad…vile at best. In a taste test I discovered this morning, Pacific Supreme can’t even hold its weight against other farmed Atlantic salmon ranking 13 out of 15 with 34 points out of 100.

So now what to I do besides write about it here?

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


16 Replies to “Pacific Supreme is Neither Pacific or Supreme”

  1. How about you stop eating salmon altogether? I know it makes you feel yummy in your tummy, but isn’t it time we start to respond to the marine ecological crisis by holding back from our seafood nibblies as consumers, helping to take reduce fishing pressure in our own little way?

  2. I can agree with that J, but on the other hand I really want to support those fisheries and businesses that are doing the *right* way by fishing sustainably and not contributing to destruction of habitat or excess bycatch. If we give our collective money to those businesses then it sends a message to unsustainable fisheries that fishing with ecology in mind is beneficial and profitable and they should change their ways. Right now there is little incentive, except for consumer pressure, to change from cheap, quick and dirty to sustainable.

  3. I would go talk to the manager of the “green” grocer, could be he doesn’t know either. In your neck of the woods I would imagine they are more prone to really give a shit than most ’round here (SE CT) do. The fish counter manager at my ex-favorite grocery disarmed my request for him to not carry swordfish, orange roughy and shark anymore with “You’re not one of those enviro’s that wants to put fishermen down, are you?” Knew right off he’s not ever going to change, so taking my business elsewhere now.

  4. I disagree with J completely. We need to as Kevin states, “to support those fisheries and businesses that are doing the *right* way by fishing sustainably and not contributing to destruction of habitat or excess bycatch. If we give our collective money to those businesses then it sends a message to unsustainable fisheries that fishing with ecology in mind is beneficial and profitable and they should change their ways.”

  5. Wait a minute, step back and think about this: WHY do we need to “support those fisheries and businesses” that are pulling fish out of the ocean at a time when the oceans are already being overfished?

    We don’t NEED to support them. The most sustainable thing to do with salmon, and other ocean fish, is to not kill them. These other so-called sustainable fishing practices are only a distant second-best.

    If you want to send a message, don’t buy. Just don’t buy seafood. Why is there the presumption that the only way to send a message is to buy something?

  6. Would you make the same argument about beef, pork, and chicken? We should avoid all meat as opposed to supporting local ranches that raise the animals cage free, on organic feed, with antibiotics, etc.? Should we need not eat produce at all? As opposed to favoring business that supply us with locally grown organic fruit and vegetables? I think this a logically fallacy.

    You could argue that fish is a luxury item and in some cases I can see this. But for those raised along the coast, seafood is integral part of the diet. More problematic is that any conservation effort that removes humans completely as opposed to mitigating their effects is likely to be unsuccessful. Moreover, Mark Powell over at blogfish would argue that this guilt driven “do not eat something” is extremely ineffectual way to get people onboard. If we wait for everyone to stop eating fish then…nevermind because that won’t actually happen. However, giving people an oppurtunity to enjoy seafood and support conservations is win-win.

    I am also totally uncomfortable with assuming all fishing is bad and by default all fishermen are evil. Equating unsustainable and sustainable fisheries because both remove fish from the ocean is tragic at best. Working with local fishermen to build sustainable fisheries (by using our wallets) supports both marine conservation and local communities.

  7. Avoiding all fish is about as powerful as holding your breath until you turn blue. Nothing happens except you turn blue and feel shitty.

    It may feel good to shout negative things about all fisheries, but that’s like shouting negative things about all women (or men) because your girlfriend (or boyfriend) was really nasty.

    OK, so much for the lame analogies…avoiding fish is not going to fix anything. Avoiding bad fish MAY send a useful message. My personal preference is to get seafood lovers to engage in the policy debates over fixing fisheries.

    Taras Grescoe argues for policy solutions in his new book “Bottom Feeder.” He’s supporting the need to fix fisheries and oceans.

    Fixing things is much harder than shouting about something being broken. Where do you want to be, shouting or fixing?

  8. I’m going to cite Jennifer Jacquet here…if an educated expert had a hard time with sustainable seafood, is there any hope that non-experts can purchase selectively and support change? NO.

    SO what to do? Support policy reform that fixes our fisheries. We can do it.

  9. Mark, you clearly have a strong opinion about this, but I think you’re overstating your case.

    If “Avoiding all fish is about as powerful as holding your breath until you turn blue,” then isn’t engaging in the half-measure of eating wild fish that continue to be pulled from overfished seas then half as powerful as avoiding all fish?

    I think that your analysis is based upon an artificial separation of people who fish into good and bad, instead of taking a look at the system as a whole. I’m not interested in wasting time yelling about fishermen who are bad. I’m interested operationally in the behavior I actually want to see. Operationally, one of the things that needs to happen is that fewer fish should be pulled from the seas, no matter how it’s done.

    If I don’t eat fish, then that’s going to contribute to fewer fish being pulled from the oceans. If I eat more fish, I provide a very tangible reward to so-called “sustainable” operations and to other operations as well, by elevating the market price of fish completely.

    I don’t turn blue by not eating fish, and I don’t feel shitty. I simply do not need to eat fish.

  10. Perhaps the problem is the vendor. Try a co-op or other outlet who isn’t out to fool you. I get my wild caught salmon from a local co-op which even delivers! From fisherman to co-op to me, with nobody motivated to deceive in the chain.

  11. I suppose it depends on how big a foodie you are and how your local fishing spots rank on the pollutants scale. My local sport fishing areas are well-stocked with bass, trout and have a natural abundance of sunfish species, and I am an extreme foodie by my own admission. I would rather have local trout that I hooked myself, cherrywood or hickory-smoked on my back patio. With cream cheese or Neufchatel, roughly chopped watercress and fresh herbs (garlic chives, thyme, a touch of oregano or rosemary), on a crusty oatmeal bread, a glass of Gewurtztraminer or a semidry Riesling–my favorite springtime lunch, by far.

    Just now I’m eating bluegill fritters, made with a sort of cornmeal-chili-pecan batter, with a fresh orange salad and Belgian beer. Mmmmm.

    I gave up on my faith in labeling many moons ago when I had to work on a project that involved disinfecting Mad Cow Disease from a slaughterhouse. There was no label that said, “the health inspector assigned to this processor is an idiot who couldn’t find his ass with both hands and a flashlight.” I suspect that many fisheries aren’t that different. Personally I’d like to see more of an Alice Waters culinary trend, because FSM knows that grocery stores respond to marketing more than anything else.

  12. “I would rather have local trout that I hooked myself, cherrywood or hickory-smoked on my back patio. With cream cheese or Neufchatel, roughly chopped watercress and fresh herbs (garlic chives, thyme, a touch of oregano or rosemary), on a crusty oatmeal bread, a glass of Gewurtztraminer or a semidry Riesling–my favorite springtime lunch, by far.

    Just now I’m eating bluegill fritters, made with a sort of cornmeal-chili-pecan batter, with a fresh orange salad and Belgian beer.”

    We here at Deep Sea News would like to extend our open invitation for you to cook for us!

  13. How am I going to cook for you all? You’re scattered on all different coasts. And I’m in New England.

    Bluegill fritter recipe:

    Mix in a bowl–
    1/2 c. cornmeal
    1/2 c. flour
    (Incidentally, flour is the hardest thing for me to find locally. There is but one mill within 100 miles, and it’s a cheesy antique reproduction thing that doesn’t grind local grist.)
    Chili powder to taste, for me that’s about a tablespoon
    Very finely chopped onion, perhaps 3 tbsp.
    a few cloves smashed garlic
    fresh thyme to taste
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 c. – 1/3 c. finely chopped pecans. Don’t use black walnuts even if they are local. Hickory nuts are OK too. I might even try hazelnuts.

    Blend well. Then add
    1 cup buttermilk or goat milk, whatever you’ve got
    1 duck egg or 1 large free-range chicken egg or 2 bantam free-range chicken eggs. A proper free-range egg has an orange yolk and tastes almost buttery. A falsely labeled free-range egg has a yellow yolk and tastes like sulfurous rubber cement. If you’ve only got the fake ones…I guess just use two medium supermarket eggs. It’s not the same.

    Skin the bluegill and fillet it. Bluegill don’t fillet easily, but try. Cut the pieces into bite-size chunks (this may happen as a matter of course, no matter how sharp your knife is), and throw ’em in the batter. The resulting fritters may be deep-fried in peanut oil or pan-fried in a combination of peanut oil and brown butter.

    Sour cream whipped with chopped cilantro makes a nice dipping sauce. The orange salad is just cut-up orange chunks, some greens out of the garden (any kind of mesclun, really), thinly-sliced onion, and a poppyseed-balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

  14. Sounds awesome! I might try with some locally caught walleye or trout.

    I remember fishing up in canada during summers and making a lakeside fire and cooking whatever we caught in the morning. Much like your recipe but just cornmeal, flour, egg and milk.

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