“Safe Catch”… Like A Bad Penny

For years, gullible media have reported breathlessly on Safe Catch Tuna without doing much homework. Such homework might include a Google search that would turn up posts like:

Not surprisingly, they’re at it again. This time it’s the CBS affiliate in San Francisco, and they fall for the whole, scary narrative about protecting people from mercury in canned tuna. But reporter, Brian Hackney, does not mention that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) own Net Effects Report found people can safely consume 164 ounces of canned light tuna and 56 ounces of canned albacore tuna every week. And that’s regular, old canned tuna, not some expensive brand that makes low mercury claims. That’s as many as 41 tuna sandwiches a week. Hackney may be a tuna sandwich aficionado, as he does offer his own culinary tip at the end of his report, but damn… that’s a lot of sandwiches.

In reality, the story is a retread that’s been produced many, many times. The one piece of new news that Hackney fails to report on is the fact that the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD) determined some of Safe Catch’s claims needed to be modified or completely discontinued. The NAD said parts of Safe Catch’s advertising promotes the “unsupported and falsely disparaging message that other commercially available brands of tuna use fish that are dangerous.”

Here are the straight facts—people do not suffer “mercury poisoning” from the normal consumption of commercial seafood. Period. Safe Catch often artfully talks about spikes in mercury, but they never put the actual numbers in perspective. The FDA limit for mercury in canned tuna is 1.0ppm. Albacore tuna test results are around 0.3ppm and Light tuna test results are around 0.1ppm. So, could those numbers “spike” to 0.7ppm or 0.4ppm? Sure, but they’re still totally safe to consume.

Oh, and one other thing. The FDA’s limit for mercury in fish includes a ten-fold safety factor built in. Making the actual level of concern 10.0ppm.

So, if Brian Hackney or any reporter wants to follow up with the facts. We stand at the ready.