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Little Omega-3 and High Mercury Found In Some Canned Tuna

— Better Choices Selected for Tuna and Salmon —
White Plains, New York, September 12, 2018 — Some popular canned tuna contain much lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids than recommended for cardiovascular benefits while being high in mercury and/or arsenic, according to tests by Better options among canned tuna and salmon were found that are high in omega-3s and low in contaminants.

To reduce the risk of heart disease, fish or other seafood providing an average of about 250 mg per day of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA is recommended. ConsumerLab's tests of fourteen popular canned tuna and salmon products sold in the U.S. show that total amounts of DHA and EPA per serving ranged from as little as 45 mg to over 1,200 mg and two products contained significantly less DHA and EPA than claimed on their labels.

Half the products were contaminated with mercury and/or arsenic at levels that suggest they should not be eaten more than once or twice a week. This was common among albacore tunas, but also an issue with a skipjack tuna and a yellowfin tuna. Levels of lead and cadmium were not found to exceed safety limits. Oils in products were also tested for freshness; while no product failed this test, some products contained too little fish oil to perform the test.

"Canned tuna or salmon can be an inexpensive and convenient way to get protein, omega-3s, and other key nutrients. Unfortunately, according to our tests, many canned fish don't provide enough omega-3s and are contaminated to the point that their use should be limited," said ConsumerLab president Tod Cooperman, M.D. "In many cases, switching from albacore ("solid white") tuna to another tuna or salmon appears to be a healthful move," he added.

The new findings are available online now in ConsumerLab's Canned Tuna and Salmon Review, which includes its Top Picks, i.e., products providing a significant amount of DHA and EPA with minimal contamination and at a good price — as little as 60 to 80 cents per suggested serving. The Review provides test results and comparisons for the following 14 products: Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore In Water, Chicken Of The Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna In Water, Deming's Red Sockeye Wild Alaska Salmon, Genova Yellowfin In Extra Virgin Olive Oil With Sea Salt, Kirkland [Costco] Albacore Solid White in Water, Kirkland [Costco] Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, Safe Catch Elite Solid Wild Tuna Steak, StarKist Selects Solid Yellowfin in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Trader Joe's Chunk Light Skipjack In Water With Sea Salt, Trader Joe's Sockeye Salmon, Vital Choice Albacore Solid White Albacore, Vital Choice Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna and Wild Planet Skipjack Wild Tuna. The Review also summarizes the clinical evidence regarding the cardiovascular benefits of fish consumption, risks of mercury and arsenic contamination, suggested intakes of fish, and other concerns and cautions. 

Founded in 1999, is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to is available online and provides immediate access to reviews of more than 1,000 products from over 400 brands. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.

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