All posts by Tuna Council

Moms Clean Air Force: A Threat to Public Health

The activist group Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF) is once again whipping up fears about seafood trying to scare parents as a way to push a political agenda. And, ironically, its children who will suffer for it.

In a column on thinkprogress.org, MCAF Senior Director and Co-Founder Dominique Browning claims that coal-fired plants are polluting the oceans and contaminating seafood with mercury.

Its actually an effort to persuade lawmakers to put new restrictions on utilities, and what better way to get attention than warning about a dinner table threat to Americas children? Its cynical but effective.

Its also not true.

Seafood and tuna, in particular — is one of the healthiest foods on earth. Seafood is rich in nutrients that help keep brains and hearts healthy throughout a person’s life and are essential for developing babies. A long-term federal study showed that children whose moms cut back on seafood during pregnancy are more likely to have abnormally low IQs.

What about mercury? Extensive research shows that the trace levels of mercury found in commercial seafood is largely naturally occurring and originates from underwater volcanoes. All fish in the ocean contain minute levels of mercury and have since the beginning of time. But its important to know that the 10 most popular fish Americans enjoy today including canned tuna — are low in mercury and fall well within the U.S. governments very conservative safety guidelines.

Yet youd never know it from Ms. Browning and her unfounded attacks on tuna (which infamously included the overwrought op-ed, A Worried Mother Does Better Research Than the FBI). Its not surprising that her organization is sponsored by the radical activist group Environmental Defense Fund. It, too, is well known for hyping mercury concerns to advance its political agenda and pick up extra contributions from worried environmentalists.

A Clue that Beyonce May Be Pregnant? Seafood IS On Her Menu!

With speculation growing about Beyonce is she pregnant or not? fans spotted a possible hint on her Tumblr page: Her dinner menu in France included Salad Nicoise, a popular salad topped with tuna.

A few celebrity bloggers seized on the clue and immediately predicted that Beyonce was NOT pregnant because her photo zoomed in on tuna, a food that pregnant women used to think should be limited during pregnancy. Joyce Chen at Us Weekly began the brouhaha, which gained even more traction when JustJared re-posted it.

Too bad these gossip bloggers know nothing about pregnancy diets. And thank goodness they arent doctors, never mind Sherlock Holmes types. Because if they actually knew something about what pregnant women need to be eating, they would understand that fish, including tuna, is actually one of the most important foods women need to eat more of because 50% of a babys brain is made up of essential fatty acids found in seafood.

If Beyonce is pregnant, she is likely seeing top-notch doctors who would advise her, based on U.S. and international government guidelines and research, to eat more seafood including tuna because of the essential nutrients in fish so important to babies brain and eye development. Of course, seafood is also indispensable for expecting and breastfeeding moms because it lowers the risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death for American women.

We cant say for sure whether Beyonce is pregnant. But what is absolutely certain is that if youre an expectant mom, you can definitely have Salad Nicoise for dinner. Bon apptit!

The Truth About Tuna

Canned tuna is one of the most affordable and available sources of omega-3s in the American diet. There are two primary types of canned tuna- white (also known as albacore) and light. White albacore tuna is particularly high in omega-3s and both are low in mercury. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration level of concern for mercury in fish is 1.0 parts per million (ppm). Both types of canned tuna are at least 65 percent lower than this level.

Canned Tuna Type (3 oz)

Omega-3s (mg)

Mercury (ppm)

White (Albacore)

733

.350

Light (Skipjack)

230

.135

For the general population, there are no kinds of commercial fish to limit or avoid, including canned tuna. Simply eat a variety of seafood at least twice each week.

For pregnant and breastfeeding women, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) clearly state this group avoid just four rarely eaten, exotic fish including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish and “can eat all types of tuna, including white (albacore) and light canned tuna…” of which up to six ounces a week can be white (albacore) tuna.

The most up-to-date and authoritative review of seafood science can be found in the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption, published in September 2011. This report is clear that seafood species with traces of mercury higher than white albacore tuna do not raise a concern, even when eaten daily during pregnancy. In fact, the FAO/WHO assessment found that eating fish once a day or seven servings per week delivered important health benefits and no risk from mercury.

Mercury: A natural phenomenon or manmade menace?

Rhetoric:Man-made air pollution and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants end up in the ocean and taint our supply of commercial seafood.

Reality:Regardless of pollution, commercially caught seafood has always contained trace amounts of organic methylmercury caused by underwater volcanic activity occurring for millennia. According to the FDA, which oversees ocean-caught and commercially farmed seafood, there are no “measurable differences over time in mercury concentrations in commercial fish generally, nor does the FDA database on mercury concentrations in commercial fish reveal a trend toward increasing concentrations.”

Coal fired power plant emissions contain mercury contaminants that can migrate into lakes, streams, and rivers. The EPA, which has jurisdiction over inland waterways and U.S. shorelines, closely monitors mercury levels and advises recreational anglers on which fish species are safe to consume.

Creating false alarms about safe and healthy seafood to advance clean air and water agendas is not only dishonest — it’s dangerous.

 

Methylmercury in commercial seafood is by and large naturally occurring and not increasing in the United States. Ocean fish is an essential food in Americans’ diets and seafood-deficient Americans who eat less than 3 ounces of fish a week, should be eating 4 times more seafood to realize its heart and brain health benefits.