Vital Choice Seafood



Click here to visit the Vital Choice Fish & Seafood Website


About Vital Choice

Vital Choice is a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms.


Leading health and wellness experts endorse Vital Choice as a leading source of pure, healthful, sustainable foods of exceptional quality ... including our pioneering omega-3 wild Alaskan salmon oil supplements of rare “whole food” character.


We capture the fresh-caught quality of fine, sustainably harvested Alaskan salmon and other Alaskan and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest.


The fisheries that supply most of our seafood are certified sustainable by MSC (look for their blue logo) or the State of Alaska, or are widely considered sustainable.


And to further support lives of health and sustainability, Vital Choice offers selected Organic, Natural, and Kosher foods, picked for their superior nutritional and culinary qualities.


The Vital Choice Advantage

Our overriding mission is to provide the highest quality, sustainably produced foods, and thereby promote our customers' health and well-being.


 To understand why Vital Choice is favored and trusted among many seafood aficionados, you need to add this advantage: “start with fish harvested at just the right times and places for optimal culinary quality.”


You’ll enjoy several advantages when you choose Vital Choice seafood:


  • Certified Purity – By nature, our wild fish and shellfish are free of hazardous levels of contaminants, as you can see in our revealing mercury chart. Also see our Purity page.
  • Top Quality – Our seafood will always be the very best quality available … a promise supported by our many testimonials, and backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
  • Stellar Nutrition – In addition to ample protein, our fish are rich in two vital nutrients scarce in modern diets: omega-3s and vitamin D. For selected nutrition information about our seafood, click here.
  • Sustainable Sustenance – All of our seafood comes from well-managed, sustainable wild fisheries, certified as such by the State of Alaska, the Marine Stewardship Council, and independent organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which advises consumers to avoid farmed Salmon. For more, see our Sustainability page.


Why Trust Vital Choice?

Finding high quality Salmon can be difficult and confusing. Is it wild or farmed? Where was it caught? How has it been handled?


Few seafood retailers know the answers, and those that do may not be eager to provide them. Investigations by The New York Times and a leading product-testing consumer magazine revealed that much of the salmon sold as “wild” is actually farmed fish.


This common fraud is perpetrated to raise sellers' profits at the expense of consumers who lack the expertise to see (or taste) through it.


Before founding Vital Choice, Washington State native Randy Hartnell spent more than 20 years fishing wild, pristine Alaskan waters for salmon, herring, and other regional species.


And among them, three members of the small Vital Choice executive staff – Randy, his brother Terry Hartnell, and COO Dave Hamburg – possess more than 50 years' experience fishing Alaskan and Northwest waters for salmon, herring, halibut, and other regional species.


Today, we bring our rare experience to bear by providing Vital Choice customers the very best wild seafood. Few retailers seek – or are able to identify – the best wild Alaskan salmon, less than 1% of which meet strict Vital Choice standards.


As a result, we know where to get the best, most carefully handled wild salmon and seafood, at the best price possible.


And Vital Choice is proud to have earned the endorsement of nutrition-savvy physicians like Andrew Weil, M.D., Nicholas Perricone M.D., Christiane Northrup, M.D., William Sears, M.D. (AKA "America's Pediatrician"), Frank Lipman, M.D., and Joseph Mercola, D.O.


High Quality + Fair Prices = Good Value

Our wild seafood arrives at your door on dry ice, imbued with the fresh-caught flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits that premium quality fish and shellfish should provide.


Professional chefs agree with Jane Brody, longtime food/nutrition columnist for The New York Times, who once wrote, “The freshest seafood is that which has been frozen shortly after harvest and remains that way until cooked.”


Our prices won't be as low as some retailers selling wild salmon ... and that's what shoppers who seek high quality and real value will expect. We earn about the same profit as most retail markets, but you enjoy seafood of much higher initial and delivered quality, at a perfectly fair price.


Unsurpassed Purity

We seek to support our customers’ well being, so Vital Choice will offer only the purest wild seafood possible: fish and shellfish that grow in the wild environment to which they are so superbly adapted, free of the antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic coloring agents, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used commonly in fish farms.


Our seafood is tested regularly by independent labs, and the results show that it is free of harmful levels of mercury and other industrial contaminants. Longer-lived predator species such as Halibut and Tuna accumulate mercury over time, so we select only the smallest of the catch to ensure optimum purity.


To learn more, see our Purity Page. To see a detailed chart comparing mercury levels in our seafood and major commercial species, click here. You will find a simpler chart showing mercury levels in our Tuna, Halibut, and Sablefish, versus average commercial counterparts here.


The Flash-Frozen Advantage

As Jane Brody, famed food/nutrition columnist for The New York Times once wrote, "The freshest seafood is that which has been frozen shortly after harvest and remains that way until cooked."


Vital Choice seafood is processed and flash-frozen hours within hours of harvest, and stays frozen solid until it arrives at your door on dry ice, thereby preserving the fresh-caught flavor, appearance, texture, and nutritional quality of our premium quality fish and shellfish.


The “fresh” fish in most markets is rarely in the ideal condition that label implies.


And while many supermarkets sell previously frozen fish, it may not have been frozen quickly post-harvest, and typically languishes, thawed, in a display case for hours or days, exposed to air and light ... conditions that foster bacterial growth and render delicate omega-3s rancid very quickly.


Organic Certification

Fish and other seafood are not currently part of the official organic certification process. All of our other foods are certified organic under the rules established by the US Department of Agriculture. See individual product pages for notice of certification and the specific certifying organization.


Kosher Certification

Many Vital Choice products are certified Kosher by respected, credible organizations like OU, “Square K”, and Earth Kosher. See individual product pages for notice of certification and the specific certifying organization. (We are happy to provide documentation upon request.)


Superior Salmon, Naturally

Vital Choice wild Alaskan salmon spend several years feeding on the sea’s natural foods and straining against the strong, cold currents of the North Pacific before migrating thousands of miles to the headwaters of their birth rivers.


Of the millions of young Pacific salmon that begin this demanding ocean odyssey every year, only the strongest, healthiest fish will reach harvest age. This is why wild salmon offer flavor, texture and nutritional profile far superior to any farm-raised fish.


Their superior culinary quality stands in stark contrast to flaccid-fleshed farmed salmon raised in pens and fed grains (and various antibiotics and pesticides), which are almost always Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Very small amounts of king and chum salmon are farm-raised in the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand.


All Vital Choice salmon fillets and canned products come from the one percent of sustainably harvested wild salmon that meet our strict quality standards.


Our silver salmon (coho salmon; Oncorhynchus kisutch) and king salmon (Chinook salmon; Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are typically troll (hook and line) caught.


Vital Choice sockeye salmon (red salmon; Oncorhynchus nerka) are harvested with nets, because sockeye eat primarily plankton and krill, so tend not to strike a lure (baited hook). The two primary fishing methods for net-harvesting sockeye salmon are purse seining and gill netting.


Once brought aboard the particular vessels, our silver, sockeye, and king salmon are chilled in slush ice or refrigerated sea water and transported to shore-side processing plants, where they are transformed into the various canned and frozen products.


The type of gear used to land wild salmon has a much lower impact on quality than other factors, including harvest timing, harvest region, onboard handling, and the time from harvest to flash-freezing.

Wild Salmon vs. Farmed: Environmental and Purity Issues

Aquaculture is an increasingly important source of seafood, and we do not oppose fish-farming when it is practiced sustainably.


But the environmental sustainability of current salmon farming operations is doubtful, and the nutritional profiles of their products appear inferior. (For more information, click on Aquaculture under Sustainability in the topic list on the right side of our Newsletter Archive.)


Vital Choice fresh-frozen wild Alaska Salmon live their entire lives free to roam the open ocean, and are only harvested as they approach the end of their four-year life cycle. We guarantee that all our fish come from carefully managed, sustainable fisheries.


Alaska Salmon are endorsed as a “Best Seafood Choice” by leading environmental organizations, including the Marine Stewardship Council, Environmental Defense, the Blue Ocean Institute, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and many others. In contrast, farmed Salmon are typically rated “Avoid.”


All fish and animal foods contain at least some traces of the industrial contaminants found everywhere in today’s environment, but farmed Salmon contain levels of PCBs and dioxins far higher than any other fish or animal food tested. (While even these comparatively high levels of PCBs and dioxins are vanishingly small, it only makes sense to minimize intake.)


Wild Salmon vs. Farmed: Nutritional Distinctions

The nutritional drawbacks of farmed Salmon receive far less attention than their environmental disadvantages.


The "Omega Ratio" advantage of wild Salmon Wild and farmed Salmon contain comparable amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that make fish such healthful food. In fact, farmed Salmon may contain somewhat higher levels of omega-3s.


Unfortunately, the omega-3s in farmed Salmon come from feeding them fish meal or fish oil derived from mass harvesting of small fish nearer the bottom of the marine food chain: a practice with alarming implications for the future of the marine ecosystem.


And, compared with wild Salmon, typical farmed Salmon contain much higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which already occur in extreme excess in typical Western diets: most Americans consume 20 to 30 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. Experts recommend consuming no more than four parts omega-6s to omega-3s: that is, an intake ratio of 4:1 or lower, instead of the typical 30:1 ratio.


When consumed in such excessive amounts, omega-6 fatty acids blunt the benefits of omega-3s to a very substantial extent and can promote chronic, "silent" inflammation and the diseases associated with it, including heart disease, diabetes, senility, and cancer.


In fact, the intriguing results of a Norwegian study suggest that consuming standard farmed Salmon, raised on diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, raises people’s blood levels of the inflammatory chemicals linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer (Seierstad SL et al 2005).


Salmon farmers claim they’re striving to reduce the omega-6 content of farmed salmon feed, but tests conducted in 2005 show that average wild salmon offer a desirable omega-3/omega-6 ratio of 10:1, while farmed salmon have an average ratio of 4:1 or less (Hamilton M et al 2005).


But to the extent that Salmon farmers are able and willing to replace omega-6-rich vegetable oils and grains with costlier fish meal or fish oil, this will contribute to further over-fishing of species closer to the bottom of the marine food chain, with negative impacts throughout the oceanic ecosystem.


Vitamin D in Wild Salmon and Farmed

Research published in recent years makes it clear that vitamin D is a much bigger factor in human health than previously thought, reducing the risks of osteoporosis, fractures, and major cancers.


And new findings show that wild Salmon – especially Sockeye – are the best food sources available, by far. For example, while a cup of milk contains only 100 IU, there are 600-700 IU of vitamin D in a 3.5 ounce serving of sockeye salmon.


Farmed salmon contain only one-quarter as much vitamin D as wild salmon, according to independent tests by researchers at Boston University.


Selecting Wild Salmon Helps to Save Wild Salmon

The Alaskan salmon fishing industry is the chief economic force behind the preservation of wild Salmon.


But in recent years it has been devastated by competition from the world-wide proliferation of cheap, nutritionally inferior, environmentally destructive farmed salmon.


As paradoxical as it may seem, to save wild salmon it helps to choose it over farmed salmon products


Click here to visit the Vital Choice Fish & Seafood Website 


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