U.S. Agency is Asked to Look into Farmed Salmon Ad
WASHINGTON Environmentalists asked U.S. regulators Wednesday to investigate what they claim are misleading advertisements touting the health benefits of salmon for pregnant women.
The Washington, D.C.-based group Pure Salmon Campaign said it petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into a salmon farmer trade group ad that made the claims in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in November.
A spokeswoman for the FTC said the agency had received the petition, but declined further comment. Among the agency's responsibilities is enforcing laws against deceptive and unsubstantiated advertising claims.
At issue is a print ad that featured a photograph of a smiling pregnant woman along with the headline: "Ocean-farmed salmon. Just what the doctor ordered," according to the environmental group. The ad also noted that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids contained in the fish help fetal development.
Pure salmon Campaign, an affiliate of the National Environmental Trust, said the claims are contradicted by several studies, including one that concluded pregnant women and some other groups should limit their consumption of farm-raised salmon in favor of other sources of omega-3 fats.
But a representative of the salmon farmers' trade group that placed the ad, Salmon of the Americas, said there was nothing wrong with the ad.
"We would love to have this judged or mediated by some impartial body. We stand behind every claim that's made in that ad and more," said Alex Trent, the trade group's executive director.
Trent said Salmon of the Americas represents about 80 farmed-salmon producers in Canada, Chile and the United States, which together account for about 90 percent of the total production in North and South America.