In response to the recent negative press that yellowfin tuna has been receiving in the US, the US Tuna Foundation (USTF) yesterday (3 January) stated that all tuna species used in canned light tuna contain levels of mercury below limits set by the federal government .

The USTF said that the majority of canned tuna is packed with skipjack tuna, renowned for its low mercury levels. Depending on supply, the industry will occasionally turn to yellowfin tuna, but the USTF claims that this fish contains equally low levels of mercury. The average amount of mercury in light tuna, the Federation says, is 0.12 parts per million – eight times lower than the limit for commercial fish set by the FDA.

“When yellowfin is used in canned light tuna, the mercury level is very low,” said Dave Burney, USTF’s executive director. “No one is at risk from the minute amounts of mercury in any form of canned tuna.”

Burney downplayed the accusations that canned tuna may present a health risk and emphasised the health benefits of a diet that includes fish and fish oils:

“From the standpoint of public health, the real risk for the public is not getting enough canned tuna in your diet. If the public reduces or eliminates fish consumption based on unsubstantiated risks concerns, they will lose a number of well-established health benefits,” he said.