Canned Salmon FAQ’s

January 27, 2009

Does the OU continue to certify canned salmon?
Yes, the OU stands firmly behind its certification of all OU certified canned salmon products.

Does the OU certify canned farmed salmon or wild salmon?
The OU certifies both. It is simple to figure out if your canned salmon product is wild or farmed. By law, there must be some mention of “farmed” on the label of non-wild products, as well as a color disclaimer alerting the consumer to the use of carotenoids in the salmon feed.

Does the OU check for worms or other sorts of insects, parasites or other “toylayim” in its canned salmon products or otherwise arrange for their removal as a term of its kosher certification?
No, the OU does not check, and does not require companies to check for or remove “toylayim”.

Does the OU expect consumers to check for them?
No, our supervision means we believe that checking for and removing the “toylayim” in salmon is unnecessary.

Why is this so?
The OU has seen no reason to differentiate between the “toylayim” found in the flesh of salmon from those found in other fish, which the Shulchan Aruch in YD 84:16 rules are permissible.

Don’t some people think that something has changed and that the OU should require the removal of these worms?
The OU has found no evidence of anything different from what has already been permitted by Shulchan Aruch. The “toylayim” in question, a form of nematode called Anisakis, has been known to infect saltwater fishes such as salmon for well over 150 years. Linnaeus (known as the “father of nomenclature”) described a similar species of Anisakis in the late 1700s!! The same worm is known to infest cod, herrings and many other marine fishes, all of which are permissible per the Shulchan Aruch cited above without the requirement of insect removal.


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