You may have heard some breathless reporting about radiation in tuna recently. But the fact is the actual scientific testing done does not conclude there is a food safety or public health concern related to radiation and tuna of any kind.
For starters the tuna tested was bluefin tuna which is not used in canning. In fact per capita American’s eat about the weight of a few paper clips worth of bluefin tuna each year.
Far from raising concern about the safety of sushi tuna, experts say this study is actually “reassuring” – “The finding should be reassuring to the public. As anticipated, the tuna contained only trace levels of radioactivity that originated from Japan. These levels amounted to only a small fraction of the naturally occurring radioactivity in the tuna, and were much too small to have any impact on public health. Thus, there is no human health threat posed by consuming migratory tuna caught off the west coast of the United States.”— Timothy J. Jorgensen, associate professor of radiation medicine at Georgetown University.
Reporters should keep in mind that the levels we’re talking about are really diagnostic research levels and not levels that would even be tested for normally.
Here’s some perspective, researchers at the University of Texas Health and Science Center (in Houston) estimate you would need to eat between 2.5 and 4 tons of bulefin tuna in a year to get a dose (cesium-137) of radiation that exceeds health limits.