Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mercury in Tuna: Get Your Hazmat On (Updated and Bumped)

Based on the level of alarmism around eating tuna when you even sort of look pregnant, I was under the impression that the high levels of mercury in the fish was either common knowledge or one of those annoying urban legends that the pregnancy police like to tell to scare already hormonal pregnant women (like the one about not eating feta).

Apparently it's neither, though. In fact, it's both true and shocking. This NYT article describes reactions to a recent test of (bluefin) tuna sashimi from 20 NYC restaurants - the results of the tests weren't pretty and the reactions from restaurateurs suggest a lot of shock and unhappiness.

According to the EPA, given the average amount of mercury found in the fish tested, six pieces of tuna in one week is too much.

That does not sound like a lot of tuna for me.

This certainly is bad news.

UPDATE: Maybe not so bad after all. In Slate, Jack Shafer tsks tsks the Times for alarmist journalism, citing studies that suggest that mercury might not actually be all that bad for us.

Good enough for me. I'll get back to my spicy tuna roll now.

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