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FDA: We Don't Know What's in Tuna Cans

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Apparently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relies on the same sources of information as the general public to learn what's in popular foods: the newspaper. Just two weeks after the Chicago Tribune ran a three-part series on mercury in seafood (including findings in locally purchased fish), top FDA mercury official David Acheson admitted that the FDA didn't know that canned light tuna can contain yellowfin tuna, which is especially high in toxic mercury.

The heavy metal mercury gets into our bodies from seafood consumption and harms the brains of developing children and babies. Public health groups have long urged the FDA to provide clear warnings to women of childbearing age about how much seafood they can safely eat.

The Tribune reports: "We will definitely look at it through our office of seafood and determine whether there is something that requires further pursuit," Acheson said. He could not say exactly what the investigation would entail or whether the agency would conduct additional testing of canned tuna.

Environmental Working Group researchers exposed the FDA's coverup of their own focus group results in which Agency scientists warned women about mercury in tuna. To see how much tuna you can safely eat to keep your level of mercury at a safe level, use EWG's tuna calculator: http://www.ewg.org/issues/mercury/20031209/calculator.php

To read EWG's research, please visit http://www.ewg.org/issues/siteindex/issues.php?issueid=5010.

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