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Just How Contaminated Is the Fish and Meat That We Eat?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Food Safety Resource Center page.

Over five years ago the Chicago Tribune reported that tuna was unequivocally contaminated with mercury. "The tuna industry has failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks of eating canned tuna, while federal regulators have been reluctant to include the fish in their mercury advisories - at times amid heavy lobbying by industry," said the paper. Three years later, the New York Times found similar contamination in area sushi.

But rather than a safer product, clearer warnings or regulatory distance between federal officials and the industry they are supposed to oversee, tuna fish consumers have gotten nothing but more studies.

Last year Time magazine reported 100 samples of both lean red tuna and fatty tuna from 54 restaurants and 15 supermarkets in Colorado, New Jersey and New York, exceed recommended amounts of mercury.

And this year Consumer Reports says every tuna sample tested at an outside lab "contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market. (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.)"

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