This is an article from the FDA:
Administration prepares to issue a new advisory to protect consumers from unsafe levels of mercury in fish, it is scrutinizing one of the nation's favorite meals -- the tuna sandwich.
High in protein, low in artery-clogging fats and rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States after shrimp. About 1.5 billion cans are sold in the United States every year.
"It's been the food of choice for the health-conscious. In many instances, it's the sole source of protein and beneficial fatty acids,'' said David Burney, director of the U.S. Tuna Foundation, which represents Bumble Bee, StarKist and Chicken of the Sea.
Until recently, the biggest controversy involving tuna salad was whether to add chopped eggs or maybe pickles. Now the FDA is under pressure from public interest groups, the states and its own Food Advisory Committee to warn about mercury in canned tuna for the first time. A new advisory is expected any day now.
Adding greater urgency is the FDA's latest sampling showing that canned white albacore tuna had mercury levels three times higher than canned "chunk light" tuna, which is mostly the smaller skipjack tuna.
Using the latest numbers, a 55-pound child could safely consume only one can of albacore tuna every three weeks -- compared to one can of light tuna every nine days -- without exceeding a safety guideline set by another federal agency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Federal health officials say that mercury -- which comes primarily from emissions of coal-fired power plants, old mines and other industrial sources - - can damage the developing neurological systems of fetuses and children, and cause memory loss, tremors, anxiety and other health problems in adults.
Currently, the FDA mercury advisory doesn't mention tuna. It warns women of childbearing age and children not to eat any of four fish -- swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark. Otherwise, it recommends, they should eat a variety of fish, limiting the total to 12 ounces a week.
A draft of the new advisory, released in December, is similar to the current one but places greater emphasis on eating a variety of fish to make up the 12 ounces. It states that tuna steaks and white albacore tuna generally have more mercury than canned light tuna, adding: "You can safely include tuna as part of your weekly fish consumption.''
In preparing the new advisory, the FDA is facing a high-profile dilemma.
While it has the responsibility to protect against mercury in the food supply, it's also charged with guarding the nation's nutrition, said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's chief medical officer, in an interview with The Chronicle. It doesn't want its new advisory to scare people away from eating fish, which offers incredible health benefits, Acheson said.
The recent round of publicity on the dangers of mercury in fish is already driving people away, tuna industry representatives say. After observing focus groups run by the FDA to test draft versions of the new advisory, the industry fears that women might stop eating fish, even fish low in mercury.
That would be detrimental to health, says the American Heart Association. The fatty acids found in fish lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias. They also decrease triglycerides and plaque in the arteries, and act as an anti-inflammatory, benefiting people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Health officials recommend fish low in the food chain and not from waters known to have mercury pollution. Seafood testing the lowest in mercury include wild salmon, herring, sardines, shrimp, tilapia, sole and troll-caught albacore tuna under 18 pounds.
The heart association also recommends eating tofu and other forms of soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and oil from canola, soybean and flaxseed.
Yet the consumption of canned tuna, much of it white albacore, concerns experts reviewing the FDA's advisory. Looking at data on thousands of adults participating in Harvard's Nurses Health Study since 1976 and the Health Professional Follow-up Study since 1986, researchers determined that 65 percent of mercury in the diet was coming from canned tuna.
In December, outside experts on the FDA's Food Advisory Committee recommended changes to the agency's draft advisory: adding a safe-to-eat fish list, adding a chart correlating body weight and consumption and, finally, adding a specific warning about higher mercury in white albacore compared with chunk light. The FDA doesn't have to heed the advice.
"If the FDA knows albacore is three times higher, it should say it's three times higher,'' said Karen Perry, who works in the environmental health program at Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington. "Women might be inclined to make their own decision to eat less albacore.''
In a letter sent Tuesday to FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, a dozen public health groups objected to the 12-ounce weekly allowance for sensitive populations.
Pregnant women could easily exceed the EPA's safety guideline if they ate that amount of fish moderately high in mercury, such as canned albacore, Chilean sea bass and orange roughy.
Michael Bender, executive director of the Mercury Policy Project in Montpelier, Vt., goes further, saying the tuna industry has had undue influence on the FDA, and that's why the agency isn't tougher on canned tuna. FDA officials, including Acheson, say they will protect the public and not the business interests.
Some states already warn about canned tuna. California advises, "If you eat canned tuna, eat chunk or chunk light tuna, which has less mercury than solid white or chunk white tuna.'' But the advice is in a little-circulated brochure and on a state Web site.
The state, in a lawsuit last year, asked supermarkets to post warnings in the canned tuna aisles that white albacore has higher mercury than chunk light tuna. Del Monte, which owns StarKist, sent a letter to the chains asking them not to put the warnings on canned tuna, and offered to take the liability if the stores faced penalties. The case is still in negotiation.
The news about mercury levels in canned white albacore tuna is a blow to people who think they're doing right by eating fish.
Lafayette resident Claire Finne, for one, says she's typical of mothers today who worry about learning difficulties their children might have in school.
"I sure wish I'd known that when I was pregnant 14 years ago. I had a tuna sandwich almost every day -- or at least four days a week. I didn't eat chocolate or drink, or consume caffeine. What a joke to think that the healthy protein was getting me. I should have had greasy hamburgers instead.''
Exactly and other dietary things like eggs yolks are bad, uncooked eggs yield no useable protein shit like that. I eat 2-3 cans a day 30 grams of lean protein and itcosts like 60 cents a can how can you beat it. I buy like a hundred cans at a time. (SUPERSTORE) runs are great **** Other franchise names can be added here ie Costco, loblaws ect. ect.Originally Posted by FOOTBALL FAN
Personally I think that worrying about it is bollocks. There is always some "study" or "report" coming up that states a previously thouight of health food is now dangerous for you. I read a few eyars back that milk could be linked with cancer!?!?
It's all about moderation. I won't stop eating tuna because the benefits far outweight the potential "dangers".
yeah...i call bs...unfortunatly advancemnts in information tech can also be used to spread bs rumors like this...ppl lived thousands of years eating tuna and some animals only eat tuna...it's bogus...there is no way in hell a tuna fish can contain enuff mercury to do damage...