Food - Drink
Why You Should Always Read The
Label On
Canned Tuna
When buying canned tuna, it's important to look at the label and make sure that it is made with a type of tuna that is known to contain low amounts of mercury, which builds up in the fatty flesh of tuna because of its large size. Consuming too much mercury can lead to some health risks, such as impaired brain function, focus, and memory.
The mercury content in canned tuna depends on the kind of tuna, with albacore tuna — which is most commonly labeled as white tuna — containing three times the amount of mercury as skipjack tuna. The latter is advertised as light tuna and contains less mercury because of its smaller size.
While albacore takes the top spot as far as mercury levels are concerned, other fish varieties such as canned anchovies, crab meat, and herring shouldn't be consumed more than three times a week. To avoid mercury while still getting your fix of seafood, try shrimp, catfish, pollock, or salmon instead.
In addition to mercury content, it's also important to consider the environmental impact of your canned tuna selection. It’s important to find the phrases "pole-caught," "troll-caught," or "pole and line caught" on cans, indicating the tuna was sustainably fished using methods less likely to harm other species.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch recommends buying canned tuna from Marine Stewardship Council eco-certified brands, like American Tuna, Ocean Naturals, and more. For the best canned tuna for your body and for the planet, look for a low mercury tuna that has been sustainably sourced using key phrases printed on the label.