Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

The Quality of our Wild Alaska Salmon

By Allison Burch, July 24, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Allison Burch

No doubt about it: wild Alaska salmon is delicious! You'll find it fresh for a few short months each summer and we are busily stocking our seafood departments with the tastiest varieties found throughout Alaska. But with so many seafood concerns these days - from overfishing to poorly-managed fish farms - how do you know that the salmon you are eating is good for you, good for the planet and will still taste good? Well, here at Whole Foods Market we've made it our business to sell the highest quality foods we can find at the most competitive prices possible. We evaluate quality in terms of nutrition, freshness, appearance and taste, and this is true for our wild Alaska salmon as well! Here's a snapshot on how the wild Alaska salmon we carry in our stores fits into our overall Whole Foods Market quality standards:

  • We carefully evaluate each and every product we sell. Our dedicated port buyer is on the ground in Alaska selectively purchasing from fisheries with best practices. Through his close relationships with Alaska salmon processors, he ensures we receive high quality product.
  • We feature foods that are free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners and hydrogenated fats. Simply fresh, delicious wild Alaska salmon - nothing more is needed!
  • We are passionate about great tasting food and the pleasure of sharing it with others. Our port buyer is in constant pursuit of the highest quality salmon and selects fish with bright skin, firm texture, minimal bruising, good color and the best taste. He ensures that these quality standards are maintained in every shipment to our stores.

  • We are committed to foods that are fresh, wholesome and safe to eat. The wild Alaska salmon we select are allowed to mature at their own pace by feeding on their natural diet in the icy cold waters of Alaska. These mature fish have an extra layer of fat that contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. We process and ship our seafood under strict temperature and food safety guidelines. The salmon is shipped to stores directly from Alaska or through our own seafood distribution facilities in the U.S., creating a kind of "seafood super highway" with supply lines unrivaled by other grocers.
  • We seek out and promote organically grown foods. The organic label doesn't apply to seafood in the United States. For wild-caught fish, we turn to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as the leading authority for certifying sustainable fisheries. Wild Alaska salmon from MSC-certified fisheries will carry the blue and white MSC seal of approval.
  • We provide food and nutritional products that support health and well-being. Flavorful and moist, versatile and healthy, our wild Alaska salmon is the fresh taste of summer. You'll find superb quality at the best possible price. No other grocer can rival our commitment to these quality standards.
  • Check out Not Just Another Fish Story for even more about the wild Alaska salmon we carry, how we source it and delicious ideas for preparing it this summer. Enjoy!
Category: Food & Recipes, Seafood




Pamela Newberry says ...
This is absolutely the best salmon ever! http://lastwyf.blogspot.com/2008/06/best-salmon-ever.html
07/24/2009 4:12:40 PM CDT
speed2fast says ...
I have had these wood sheets in my pantry forever. I guess you can wrap seafood, poultry, anything else in them and grill them for an oak flavor. Normally I love to wrap salom in foil with dashes of S&P TT, a thin shaving of butter, sprinkles of finely diced scallon, occasionally a thin peice of tomato and freshly squeezed lemon juice - in that order. Then grill or bake; it always comes out great. I think I will try the same thing, only wrapped in the wood sheets, this time.
07/24/2009 9:01:25 PM CDT
Raj says ...
I got some wild caught Sockeye Salmon? How do i store it? How long can i store it? Should i cook it before storing
07/25/2009 1:52:17 PM CDT
hsiaw says ...
@Raj You can find some information on storing seafood safely in our online guide here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/nutrition/handling-seafood.php. You can store it in the freezer, well wrapped for up to three months. It does not need to be cooked beforehand.
07/27/2009 8:59:49 AM CDT
Sally says ...
Hello. I have known of Whole Foods since the late 70's and "Saferway". Over the years I have shopped with Whole Foods and then "not so much" with gossip of the company selling out the the corporate ways. In recent months I have returned to the store to learn more about better and more readily available organic foods. Well, I JUST got back from seeing "Food, Inc." WOW!! How powerful! I'm appalled, not surprised by anything really new, but can't believe the exptent to which these corporations have power over our food and lives!! Please, please, please...don't sell out to money!!! We ABSOLUTELY NEED companies like Whole Foods to continue to be a leader and TEACHER to the general public. Movies like this (as awesome as they are) only tend to "preach to the choir". Thank you for what you do and for volunteering to stay authentic in providing us with valuable information in your mission and what's happening in the world of food.
07/29/2009 5:18:28 PM CDT
Trudy says ...
First we had the sockeye salmon, then today the coho. I have never had fresher, more delicious fish in my life. I love wild caught salmon. Whole Foods has absolutely the best salmon ever. It doesn't hurt that my husband (the chef in our family) has stepped up his game to produce some amazing takes on making the most of the flavors. Thanks for making every week special, Whole Foods. We enjoy shopping with you every single week and finding wonderful ingredients for healthy dining.
08/02/2009 10:28:49 PM CDT
Jill says ...
The blog says sockeye salmon is only available a few short summer months. Can it be gotten frozen or otherwise. I am looking for good sources of vitamin D
08/09/2009 9:09:30 PM CDT
PhillyBuyer says ...
Hi I just bought some Wild Alaskan Salmon at the Whole Foods in Philadelphia (South St) yesterday - 4/4/11. I am hoping to salt/sugar cure it but I've read that to be safe, fish used for this should be frozen for at least a week at around -25C. Any idea how cold or how long the Wild Alaskan previously frozen salmon purchased in April in Philadelphia is? Thanks!
04/05/2011 6:50:54 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@PhillyBuyer: Unfortunately I don't have that information. I suggesting contacting the store from which you bought the fish. They have records of all the products they sell.
04/05/2011 11:40:58 AM CDT
Helen says ...
I frequently buy the Whole Foods brand frozen wild Alaskan salmon. I take it out of the wrapper and let it defrost in a bowl. I took a look at the empty wrapper recently and noticed that there were orange drops of liquid clinging to the plastic. It looked like dye. Are you sure the salmon isn't dyed at any point in the process?
12/11/2012 7:27:51 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@HELEN - Thanks for your question. The wild salmon pieces are not dyed. The farm-raised salmon gets the orange color from the feed they consume which contains yeast and microalgae. Keep in mind that we do not use any artificial dyes throughout our entire store. Hope this helps!
12/12/2012 2:52:00 PM CST
Marcia says ...
Whole Foods is coming to our area soon and we are thrilled to have a place to buy Wild Alaskan Salmon locally. I'm confused about the response to the question about the fish being dyed: "The salmon gets the orange color from the feed they consume which contains yeast and microalgae" What do you mean "the feed they consume?" I thought they were wild....
01/20/2013 8:40:41 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MARCIA- Sorry for the confusion. You are completely right. I was speaking about the farm-raised salmon that we sell in our stores as I did not see that Helen was referring to wild salmon. I have updated my my reply to her to clear up the confusion. Thanks for catching that!
01/25/2013 2:52:09 PM CST
Kelsey says ...
Whole foods has the best salmon I have ever bought. In addition, I trust everything I am buying there and the research about the product is always readily available!
01/30/2013 4:08:21 PM CST
03/03/2013 8:56:45 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@SUZANNE - The term "fishery" does not necessarily mean that the fish are farm raised. "Fisheries" can be saltwater or freshwater, wild or farmed. Wikipedia defines "fishery" as "an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery." I would suggest looking for any wild fish with an MSC seal on the product as the MSC "assessment program is used to certify wild capture freshwater and marine species. Our program does not assess fish farming (aquaculture), although some forms of enhanced fishery may be eligible for assessment." You can read more about the stance of MSC on aquaculture (farmed fish) at http://www.msc.org/newsroom/news/msc-board-statement-on-aquaculture. Hope this helps!
03/04/2013 1:43:07 PM CST
William Croft says ...
re: the frozen "Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets". the package mentions "quick frozen" which I assume is the same as flash frozen. Would this would be safe for use in raw sushi? FDA guidelines call for -35C: http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/haccp/compendium/chapt16.htm#FDA (From HACCP Compendium.) How about the wild salmon shown in the 'fresh' case? It must have been flash frozen as well? Thanks.
03/23/2013 10:28:33 PM CDT
William Croft says ...
One of your links above is broken (Not Just Another Fish Story). Here is the working link: http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/video-library/videos/seafood-videos/not-just-another-fish-story-wild-alaska-salmon
03/24/2013 2:17:46 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@WILLIAM - I have not heard that we recommend any of our salmon as sushi grade in our stores. I would recommend reaching out to a specialty store that sells sushi grade fish. Also, much appreciation for the broken link...we will get that fixed!
04/01/2013 3:29:47 PM CDT
Fiorella T says ...
what about the other salmon quality you sell?, the iceland with color aditive?
06/07/2013 7:42:06 PM CDT
Elena says ...
Does your company ship wild Alaskan Salmon or deliver to areas where stores are unavailable?
06/09/2013 4:53:59 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@FIORELLA - We have strict Quality Standards that every product we sell in our store must meet, which includes no artificial colors. You can find a detailed list of unacceptable ingredients for food at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/about-our-products/quality-standards/unacceptable-ingredients-food.
06/11/2013 10:36:02 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@ELENA - At this time, we do not ship perishable products.
06/11/2013 11:16:37 AM CDT
Linda Chua says ...
Which salmon is better for my family the FARM-RAISED or wild Alaska. How do I know the salmon are free fom contaminants and TOXINS if thery are raised in FARM. Which is higher in MERCURY, farm-raised or wild?? Pleas share your honest opinion. HOW long can I keep in freezer if I decide to buy? i also want to ask you is it better to buy those frozen SALMON that you sell at your store, or is it better to buy the FRESH salmon, and if they are fresh, how FRESH are they
06/30/2013 5:38:45 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LINDA - You can find tons of info on our website about farmed raised fish at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/mission-values/seafood-sustainability/aquaculture. Since each vendor differs between stores, ask your local seafood department about freezing particular types of fish and they will let you now what types of fish are fresh or previously frozen.
07/01/2013 3:44:16 PM CDT