A report warned that levels of toxic mercury in canned tuna are “unpredictable” and called on pregnant women to avoid eating it.
Consumer Reports, a renowned American organization, conducted an extensive investigation that included testing 30 cans of tuna from 5 popular brands. Unfortunately, the results revealed alarming amounts of mercury in each can!
She noted that “there were wide fluctuations in levels between cans, even among those of one brand,” and that “3 cans contained so much mercury that the researchers said it should not be ingested at all.”
“From canister to canister, mercury levels can rise in unexpected ways that could endanger the health of the fetus,” said James Rogers, director of food safety research.
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s standards, the organization detected levels of mercury that were acceptable for consumption. Thus, meaning pregnant women can have up to a few servings of canned tuna per week with no worries!
Mercury is especially hazardous to unborn babies, as the toxic metal impedes their developing brains and bodies, making them vulnerable to learning disabilities, vision loss and hearing loss.
Not only is it hazardous for adults, but can also cause destruction to their central nervous system, digestive tract and kidneys. These adverse effects may range from insomnia, loss of memory up to even muscle weakness.
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, levels of mercury in certain parts of our oceans have skyrocketed – up to three times their natural concentrations. As such, fish and other seafood like tuna will inevitably contain this neurotoxin.
Specialists assert that rain plays a vital role in ocean contamination, transferring mercury from the air into marine life. Once absorbed by living organisms, it can have harmful effects on aquatic ecosystems.
As these creatures are ingested by other critters, they become more concentrated in the food chain. Tuna is a top predator fish; therefore, it has exceptionally high concentrations of toxins in its body due to this process.
Marine expert, Nicholas Fisher of New York University commented on the levels of mercury in different brands of canned tuna, as reported by Britain’s Daily Mail. He stated that “the levels vary depending on the ocean from which the tuna came.”
He clarified: “In China and India, a great amount of coal is burned for energy production. This releases immense amounts of mercury into the atmosphere which eventually falls back to Earth in rainwater – thus elucidating why mercury levels have risen so drastically in the Pacific.”
We have made remarkable progress in the Atlantic due to our efforts right here in North America—levels of pollutants are starting to decline.
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI), a group that supports canned tuna producers, retaliated to the report by claiming that “mercury levels found in their products were significantly below the limit set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
According to Bumblebee, the renowned producer of canned tuna, any potential health risks associated with consuming seafood are incomparable to its vast benefits – one of which includes minimal mercury content.
Wild Planet highlighted the conflict between selecting tuna with a reduced mercury content and selecting fisheries that exhibit sustainable practices. Ultimately, their decision was to prioritize sustainability over low levels of mercury in their skipjack tuna.