May 16, 2008: NEW YORK TIMES ISSUES CORRECTION


NEW YORK TIMES ISSUES CORRECTION

Miami, Florida - May 16, 2008 – In an Editor’s Note in Tuesday’s New York Times, the newspaper admitted that it had incorrectly identified Adolfo Flores, a security guard working at the port of Castro, Chile as the port director in a story about the Chilean Salmon industry that had originally run in the paper on March 27 [Salmon Virus Indicts Chile’s Fishing Methods]. In turn, the paper also admitted that in light of the new information, it should not have used Flores as an authoritative source in the story.

The correction follows in whole:

An article on March 27 reported on a virus, infectious salmon anemia, or I.S.A., killing millions of salmon cultivated for export by Chile’s salmon farming industry. It quoted an official at the port of Castro, Chile, describing bags of fish food stored at the facility by Marine Harvest, a Norwegian company, as containing antibiotics, pigments and hormones. The official, Adolfo Flores, identified himself as the port director. He in fact worked as a security guard, The Times learned subsequently. Had The Times been aware of his actual position at the time, it would not have cited him as an authority on the contents of the bags, which were labeled medicated food. The article also should have noted that Marine Harvest and SalmonChile, an industry association, deny that they use hormones or that the pigments they use pose any risk to consumers.

"While we're pleased that the paper has made a correction, one that we brought to their attention in the first place, it's this sort of sloppy mistake that should give readers second thoughts about anything the Times reports on the topic of fish consumption," said Rafael Puga, President of Salmon of the Americas.

"Instead of researching their assumptions, they relied on inapplicable and unsubstantiated claims from activists," Puga said. "There has never been any scientific or medical data linking farmed salmon to any consumer health risk – a fact that is easily verified. Nor has the industry ever used hormones to raise salmon – despite the alarmist inference the Times made," Puga added.

Since issuing the correction, the Times has come under criticism from publications like Conde Nast Portfolio, Editor and Publisher and Gawker. Most noted that the reporter, Alexei Barrionuevo, had twice before been cited for plagiarism – though why his editors didn’t fact check this story more closely in light of that record remains a mystery. Salmon of the Americas urges food and science editors in North America to disregard the paper's reporting as flawed, and to contact trade association directly in regards to questions about the industry in Chile.

Salmon of the Americas is a trade association of salmon-producing companies in North and South America, whose mission is to improve health, awareness and dining enjoyment of consumers in North America by providing timely, complete, accurate and insightful information about salmon on behalf of the member companies. It is based in Miami, Florida.

Dated: May 16, 2008
Contact: Laura McNaughton
Salmon of the Americas Inc.
(305) 266-7670

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