Hold the Tuna….and the Mercury

Mmmm……just when you thought it was safe to introduce your children to the joys of sushi along comes a NYT report into the exceedingly high levels of mercury found in Manhattan tuna sushi/sashimi.

Writes the NYT:

Recent laboratory tests found so much mercury in tuna sushi from 20
Manhattan stores and restaurants that at most of them, a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

This issue is so serious to NYT readers that it warranted an editorial "maki" on the topic.

It explains:

Though some mercury in the atmosphere occurs naturally, roughly
two-thirds is produced by industrial sources — especially coal-burning
power plants. It settles into the water in a form called methylmercury,
is absorbed by bacteria and then makes its way up to the very top of
the food chain — to humans.

What’s the real risk to our kids? Well my own two much prefer a good California roll to be honest and even little true Tekka lovers probably aren’t getting through the red-zone six pieces a week.

But, as the NYT editorial puts it: "It is a reminder of how interconnected all
life on earth really is. The mercury that worries us in the tuna we eat
is the very residue of the way we live. The only way to reduce the one
is to improve the other."

- Matthew

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3 Responses to Hold the Tuna….and the Mercury

  1. Crumbs says:

    My 3 year old loves sushi: of course the rolls, but mostly the raw fish. (wild, eh?) His palate is fearless, and I’d hate to squelch that. He will so soon be faced with American school “lunches” which seem filled with things far worse than mercury. I guess we’ll stick to Salmon & Hamachi?
    On a side note, Did you see the 60 Minutes piece on Blue Fin Tuna? It was very humbling.

  2. hamachi says:

    hamachi is quite high in mercury. sorry. keep the preschoolers away from it. salmon is fine, mercury-wise.
    the mercury in tuna issue is not a new one, it’s just that someone has finally decided to publicise it. my mother, a pediatrician, has been warning parents to avoid feeding their kids tuna (including canned light tuna) for years.
    (although light tuna is officially low-to-moderate mercury on average, in practice an individual tin can contain levels toxic to children and fetuses.)
    take a look at this list for high and low mercury sushi. basically, the larger and older the fish when it’s caught, the higher the mercury content. predator fish are also higher in mercury.

  3. Karen says:

    This was certainly a depressing story to read, especially for sushi fiends like us.
    True, though, that we’ve be warned about this for years – just means more moderation.
    Makes we wonder about the levels of mercury in my blood right after labor/delivery of both my babies – we had raw tuna roll feasts right there in the hospital. Nine months is long and hard without a fix.

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