Canned tuna is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the United States. But you knew that, right?
For me, tuna is a food staple. I eat tuna way more often than I eat shrimp. Way more often.
I am retired and I make myself a tuna sandwich for lunch two to three times a week. I take the contents of a five ounce can of tuna and mix in a spoonful of mayonnaise and a spoonful of sweet pickle relish. Oh yum!
That produces enough delicious tuna “salad” for a tuna sandwiches plus a little left over to scoop up onto Wheat Thin crackers for a before-dinner snack.
I loves me my tuna fish! So you can imagine my chagrin upon learning the truth about tuna fish.
Health officials and doctors have, for decades, encouraged people to eat a lot of seafood. Fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart and brain health. My can of tuna is certified by the American Heart Association, for crissake. But emissions from factories and power plants — especially from burning coal — are spewing tons of highly toxic mercury into the air. And all of this mercury in the atmosphere is settling into the oceans, which has pushed mercury concentrations in oceans and fish up to potentially dangerous levels.
A recent study found that mercury levels in Pacific yellowfin tuna have been rising at a rate of almost four percent each year since 1998. This mercury is being ingested and absorbed by fish and gets concentrated in predatory species, like tuna.
And the bad news is that mercury can cause neurological damage and accumulates in our organs. In children and fetuses, it can lead to long-term cognitive disorders.
A few years ago, the FDA advised pregnant women and children to limit their consumption of white tuna because of its particularly high levels of mercury. Consumer Reports even suggests that people “should steer clear of high-mercury choices,” and warns people not to eat canned tuna or sushi made from tuna.
Don’t eat canned tuna and tuna sushi? Seriously?
And to add insult to injury, according to Consumer Reports, white albacore tuna has been found to contain more mercury than chunk light tuna and should be eaten very infrequently. They suggested that someone weighing 150 pounds should eat no more than a can of albacore tuna per week.
What? I go through two or three times that and I eat only solid white albacore. Why albacore? Because solid white albacore is more expensive than chunk light tuna. And everyone knows that the more expensive something is, the better it is.
Not only that, but solid white albacore comes in a gold can, while lowly chunk light tuna comes in a green can. When it comes to food packaging, gold is way better than green. Duh!
Hell, I’ve been eating albacore all my life and look at me. Fit as a fiddle. My heart is as sharp as a tack and the beat of my mind is as strong as ever. Or something like that. I may be a bit confused.
Oh my, will you look at the time? It’s almost lunch time and I need to whip up a delicious tuna sandwich, fresh from my gold can of solid white albacore.
And I know it’s fresh because the “best if used by” date stamped on the can is November 3, 2020.