As required by law, all species of Alaskan seafood are processed in facilities that meet all food safety standards and practices. These regulations require monitoring of checkpoints to ensure food safety, with oversight from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation. Producers and their customers work together to ensure the highest levels of product quality. Many customers carry out inspections and audits of their suppliers on their own initiative. It is a common practice in the industry that, among other things, places great importance on traceability.
The Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation conducts a rigorous screening for the presence of environmental contaminants in Alaskan fish. The State of Alaska funds this program to ensure the health of its natural, marine and freshwater resources. Alaska fish species are assessed annually and worrying levels of contaminants have never been determined. The results of the fish observation program can be found at: http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/vet/fish.htm
The initial catch, handling and storage of the fish as well as the basic processing operations prior to packaging are important factors that influence the quality of wild salmon. To determine the value or degree of preference, the following should be considered:
Therefore, the “quality” is influenced by both the intrinsic characteristics of the fish and the handling to which it has been subjected, its degree of freshness and conservation. A characteristic of wild salmon is the natural change in shape and color that occurs as it matures and approaches its freshwater breeding site. There is a market niche for each shade of salmon.