Tuna is one of the most popular seafood in the world with Australia being one of the largest consumers of this healthy meat. However, while tuna is certainly healthy it is important that buyers pay attention to what type of canned tuna they purchase, the same goes for fresh tuna that’s sold over seafood counters. The best canned tuna is defined as being fish that is caught fresh, wild and processed using healthy additives. People are encouraged to take a minute to read the labels on the cans or pouches they purchase for information about how the fish was processed.
What you should look out for?
When searching for the best canned tuna start by looking for a blue eco-friendly label which is issued by the Marine Stewardship Council. There are several American fisheries that have been certified by the MSC and this label signifies that the fish is environmentally friendly. That said you also need to find out how the tuna was caught in order to gauge how good it is.
Checking how the canned Tuna was caught
Most labels will clearly state that the tuna was “Pole Caught”, “Pole and Line Caught”, or “Troll Caught”. All three of these fishing gears are great because they eliminate the chance of catching unwanted fish in the process. There are other ways in which tuna is caught but those usually kill other fish, harm turtles and damage larger marine mammals. This is why only buy canned tuna that has been caught using any one of the three methods stated.
Don’t mistake Pole and Line caught for “Line Caught”
When the label states “line caught” it means that a long line was used and not a hook and line. These long lines can easily be over 50 miles long if not more, laden with thousands of hooks with baits which are designed to snag anything that moves. This poses a huge danger to sea turtles, sharks and albatross.
Does not state anything
Beware of canned tuna labels that do not state anything. This is because they are not caught using environmentally friendly means. So if you do not see any of the three methods stated earlier in this article then you shouldn’t buy the tuna.
Look closely at the packaging
Apart from how the tuna is caught you also need to pay close attention at the packaging in order to determine if it’s really the best. The packaging shouldn’t contain BPA or Bisphenol-A, which is a chemical often used in linings of drink cans and foods. This material has been recently linked to various precancerous lesions as well as the irregular development of a man or woman’s reproductive organs. This is why many brands have switched to more expensive BPA free type cans which are often posted on the labels. If the can does not state that it is BPA free then chances are that it’s using traditional packaging and should be ideally avoided. Salmon and Tuna in pouches happen to a much safer option but it too needs to state that it is BPA free. That said for some reason light tuna in BPA free pouches are not easily available in stores around Australia.
Check for Mercury levels in Canned Tuna
When you’re buying canned tuna it is available in both “white and “light” similar to many other types of shellfish and fish that you purchase containing some measure of mercury. The majority of mercury is a result of industrial pollution that drips into the water supply and as a result ends up in the fish we eat. Light tuna has a lot less mercury as compared to white tuna but you need to check the label for this. If you want to buy the best canned tuna then always buy light tuna by Safcol which comes from the skipjack. Yellow fin tuna is also light but is rarely found in regular cans but is known to have higher mercury content, also albacore which is labelled as “white” has higher mercury content. Women who are pregnant and young children should limit their consumption of tuna to around 12 ounces each week according to the FDA and EPA, plus their consumption should be limited to light tuna. If they consume albacore then it should be limited to 6 ounces.
Mark is one of the leading experts on sea food and healthy diets. He has written extensively about the best canned tuna and various dishes it can be added to. However, while he is a huge advocate of consuming seafood he does stress the need to read labels and understanding exactly what you eat.