Washington — Consumer Reports magazine, which this week published a scientifically misinformed piece about mercury in canned tuna, should leave food policy to actual experts like those at the FDA, the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom suggested today. The magazine’s July 2006 issue mistakenly warns consumers that a single tuna meal can have negative health consequences, ignoring mountains of science to the contrary. Consumer Reports also instructs pregnant women to avoid all canned tuna, disregarding Food and Drug Administration data that clearly establishes tuna as a low-mercury fish.
“It’s outrageous that Consumer Reports would panic the public about the trace amount of mercury in a single serving of tuna,” said Center for Consumer Freedom research director David Martosko. “Competent health advice about mercury is based on a lifetime of exposure, not a single dose. What’s next? An article linking obesity to a single slice of birthday cake? Consumer Reports isn’t warning us — yet — about the diabetes risk in an ounce of frosting. This is just as ridiculous.”
Consumer Reports, a helpful magazine for Americans looking for deals on microwave ovens, mini-vans, and vacuum cleaners, has increasingly played the role of self-appointed food safety advisor in recent years, needlessly injecting public fear into discussions about meat safety, organic food, and acrylamide in fried potatoes. Practically every food scare fomented on the pages of Consumer Reports has turned out to pose no actual risk to U.S. consumers.
“Consumer Reports has no business playing Chicken Little with the American food supply,” added Martosko. “The magazine should go back to rating toasters and leave food policy to the Food and Drug Administration. This would be comical if the consequences from scaring the public away from the health benefits of fish weren’t so serious.”