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Q: Do I have to be concerned about salmon that is labeled as having “colored added”? Are the colors possibly non-kosher?
A: From a kashrus perspective this does not pose a concern.
Salmon are (relatively) unique in that they store certain carotenoids in their flesh which is what provides that flesh with its distinct pinkish color. Wild salmon ingest these carotenoids as part of their regular diet, but farmed salmon which grow in a controlled environment where those carotenoids are not naturally available must have astaxanthin or canthaxanthin added to their feed so that they will develop the proper color. Although these items are added to the feed and not to the fish’s flesh, the American law requires that salmon fed these items be labeled as having “color added”. Such feed does not pose a kashrus issue because the materials are inherently kosher and because they are digested by the fish.