Lost in Translation?

An English-language news outlet in Europe is reporting on a French Consumer Reports-style magazine that’s giving tips on grocery store products to avoid. The French magazine appears to take aim at canned tuna with a round of proclamations based on some fairly common quasi-science that we’ve seen from ill-informed activist types more than once on this side of the pond.

The French prognosticator—in a “study” that is neither peer-reviewed nor published in a technical journal and not in the least bit scientifically credible—suggests that a few of the canned tuna samples they tested exceeded the 1mg/kg (or ppm) level for mercury. With this information they pontificate on the relative safety of said tuna and suggest ones to avoid. This is the same publication that simultaneously reports on makeup removers, dishwasher tablets and whether your feet can be allergic to your shoes—cutting-edge stuff.

Were this nonsense published here in the states we might point out a few things, such as: the FDA’s 1.0 ppm level for mercury in fish includes a 10-fold safety factor. That means there’s a thousand percent cushion built in. To be specific, according to the FDA the level of concern from mercury in fish does not even start until 10.0 ppm. So, if a fish begins to approach the 1.0 ppm level or even slightly exceeds it, no scientist worth their salt (or sel) would suggest there’s imminent harm in the offing.