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Consumer Reports discredits itself by echoing the already discredited report on canned tuna that the Mercury Policy Project (MPP) publicized on Wednesday. It’s just the latest unscientific attack on tuna by this self-described “consumer” organization. MPP’s report is merely the opinion of a group of agenda-driven activists and not peer reviewed science but you wouldn’t know that from Consumer Report’s (CR) one sided recitation of the group's talking points.
But is that really a surprise, coming from a group whose former “in-house expert on environmental health and risk assessment” approached NFI with his proverbial hand outstretched, looking for a paid consulting gig? That’s right CR’s former risk assessor for mercury AND THE PRINICPAL AUTHOR OF THE NEW MPP REPORT, approached NFI about teaming up with him.
Ned Groth wrote, “I’m hoping we can discuss the possibility of my working with NFI on risk communication about mercury in seafood.” He wasn’t shy about it either, noting “I’ll attach some personal references, should you decide to check me out further.” To assuage any fears we might have about working with him he assured us that, “it may surprise you that our perspectives have much in common.”
If Consumer Reports truly cared more about consumers – and less about attracting attention with sensationalized reports authored by its former employees -- the organization would be urging Americans to eat more tuna, not frightening them away from it.
The Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, American Heart Association and other groups stress that consuming a wide variety of seafood is integral to a healthy diet – for both adults and children.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna, for example, help children’s brains and eyes develop normally. A recent study showed that some 84,000 cardiac-related deaths could be prevented each year with proper servings of fish in the diet.
Yet Americans consume the second-lowest percentage of fish in the world (7 percent), while the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) recommend 20 percent of the protein we eat should be from seafood. Currently, adults eat less than half of the 8 to 12 ounces of seafood, two to three times a week, recommended by the DGAs, and children eat even less, even though they should be increasing their intake of a wide variety of fish.
That’s why it’s irresponsible for Consumer Reports to join activist groups in manufacturing a scare about mercury in tuna. There is no peer-reviewed evidence documenting that even one person in the United State has ever experienced mercury poisoning from eating the recommended amount of commercial fish.
Consumer Reports has developed expertise in rating cars, TVs and toasters – but it’s far out of its element here. Our advice to Consumer Reports: Stick with what you know.
Our advice for Consumer Reports readers: Buyer beware.