With Sales Plummeting, Big Tuna Claps Harder

Hmm, lets spend marketing dollars, and distract folks from a serious health hazard. What a great plan. Of course, if Big Tuna gets its wish, and everyone goes back to consuming oodles of cans of albacore, there won't be a problem because everyone will get mercury poisoning. If you are curious as to why people are 'extremely concerned', read this tale of woe.

With Sales Plummeting, Tuna Strikes Back
As awareness has increased about mercury in some tuna fish, the tuna industry has taken on an image problem with the ad campaign “Tuna - A Smart Catch.”...

As awareness has increased about the high levels of mercury in some kinds of canned tuna fish, tuna has taken on an image problem. Some consumers are shunning the product in favor of other kinds of fish or are avoiding fish altogether. Now 21 percent of consumers say they are “extremely concerned” about mercury in fish, up from 17 percent two years ago, according to the NPD Group research firm.

John Stiker, an executive vice president at Bumble Bee... and David G. Burney, executive director of the United States Tuna Foundation... do not dispute that tuna is laced with mercury, which is a known toxin, but they say that, despite government warnings, the levels are still small enough that they do not pose a serious risk.

The F.D.A. and E.P.A. guidelines issued in March 2004 advised pregnant women, women of childbearing age and young children not to consume more than six ounces, or one can, of “chunk white” albacore tuna a week. For “chunk light” tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack fish and contains less mercury, the recommended consumption limit is 12 ounces a week.
Mercury is of particular concern for fetuses because scientists believe that mercury in the mother's body passes to the fetus and may accumulate there. Young children are vulnerable because mercury can have a damaging effect on developing brains. Scientists at the National Academy of Sciences have said that adults can also be at risk if mercury levels are high enough. Symptoms of mercury toxicity include kidney troubles, irritability, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems.

Environmentalists believe that higher mercury levels in the atmosphere, much of which come from the emissions of coal-powered electricity plants, work their way into water sources and then into the food chain. Mr. Burney contends that because tuna are deepwater ocean fish, it takes many years for atmospheric mercury to find its way into their flesh.

And I was really happy to be able to use the phrase Big Tuna in a 'zine post.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on August 19, 2005 12:09 AM.

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