After a decade of bashing tuna as a dangerous fish to eat, Consumer Reports magazine has apparently accepted the healthfulness of America’s most affordable fish. MediaPost.com reports that Consumer Reports editors served “spicy tuna tartare” at their recent office holiday party. At the same time, however, CR was readying a January report declaring tuna unsafe for some people to eat. The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) today urged CR to abandon its scientifically baseless anti-tuna campaign and retract the January article, titled “Mercury in canned tuna still a concern.”
In the article, Consumer Reports advises women to “limit consumption” of the same fish CR writers (including females of childbearing age) ate at their November 22 party. Nothing in the magazine’s tests of 42 tuna cans indicates mercury levels higher than one-thirteenth of what the FDA says might be cause for concern.
(Note to editors: “spicy tuna tartare” is commonly made with bigeye or yellowfin tuna, both species whose mercury levels, while low, typically measure higher than those of canned tuna.)
“It looks like Consumer Reports needs a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ health columnist,” said David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research. “If tuna is safe enough for Consumer Reports editors and writers to eat, it’s absurd to say it’s dangerous for anyone else.”
Consumer Reports also provides potentially dangerous health advice in the form of a recommendation that pregnant women should “avoid canned tuna” completely. Studies show that eating omega-3-rich ocean fish during pregnancy gives children a developmental head start. And the Harvard School of Public Health advises that the health benefits of seafood far outweigh any hypothetical health risks—even for pregnant women and children.
Readers who want to reap the health benefits of the “Consumer Reports Editorial Diet” can visit the popular HowMuchFish.com website. This unique calculator measures the health benefits of seafood consumption along with mercury levels. It shows that in a single lunch serving of canned albacore tuna, a 150-pound woman receives nearly three times her daily omega-3 fatty acid needs; one-third of the USDA Recommended Daily Intake for vitamin B12; and 80 percent of her daily protein requirements.
“People expect consumer advocates to practice what they preach,” Martosko added, “but in this case, the sermon is all wrong. Consumer Reports gave its employees an early holiday gift by serving tuna at its office party. Why is its advice for everyone else so Grinch-like?”