China, for domestic consumption, recently decided to reclassify rainbow trout and related species as salmon. Once filleted and placed on a plate the two look very similar, but are completely different fish.
Salmon are born in fresh water but then live a good majority of their lives in the ocean. Salmon only return to fresh water to breed and then die. Rainbow trout live their whole lives in fresh water. These two are completely different fish.
There is a lot of fraud in China. The articles hint that much of what is sold in China as salmon has for years been rainbow trout, grown in aquaculture farms in Qinghai Province, far, far from the ocean. This fraud cheats Chinese people.
Fish and other food fraud does occur in all parts of the world. Genetic testing can show the origin of any food. Instead of cracking down on the fish fraud, China has decided to simply change the rules of what legally constitutes “salmon”, expanding the legal definition to the complete salmonidae family. This is very concerning and offers no protection from fraud for Chinese people. On the contrary this allows so many more types of fish to be legally called salmon.
The China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance has now announced in a ruling that to standardise the industry, salmon was now considered to be the “umbrella name of the salmonidae fish”. source
This reclassification would mean that in addition to trout being sold as salmon, so too could char, grayling and the freshwater whitefish. source
As salmon is often eaten raw as sushi, there may be parasites that would be killed in a salt water fish, but remain intact in a fresh water fish. To this the Chinese fisheries says that aquaculture fisheries carefully screen for these parasites, so there is no need to worry.
The types of salmon that I recognize are Chinook, koho, sockeye, keta (chum) and pink (humpy), and all live in the ocean for a good majority of their lives.
Salmon classification, length of time in fresh and salt water.
The salmonidae family is much larger than what we normally categorize as salmon
I believe this ruling will nearly kill the domestic salmon industry, and possibly China’s imported salmon industry as well. Who in China can now believe the label “salmon”? This puts serious doubt about China’s food credibility. This is on top of the recent defective immunization scandal.
It is also possible that any exports of Chinese salmon, if there is any, will not be credible in the international community. There are some North American salmon companies that ship their salmon to China for processing. After processing these are exported from China back to the home country. I would not buy this type of salmon. Now, nothing from China labeled “salmon” is credible.