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Toxin levels in tuna depend on where it’s caught

If you’re a fan of catch of the day tuna, ahi tuna, or spicy tuna sushi rolls…you may want to consider asking your chef where your tuna was caught. A new Scripps Oceanography study found that “pollutant levels in seafood and tuna in our case can be heavily determined by the location where it was caught…” In their eyes, the conclusion of their study is simple, “it is important to know the origin of catch of the fish, to know the amount of pollutants in your fish.”

Scripps’ study sought to measure the levels of toxic chemicals such as pesticides, coolants, and flame retardants in yellowfin tuna. The reason tuna was studied is because “big fish and predators tend to have higher levels of toxic chemicals, so tuna offered a good means of tracking them.” The research tested more than 245 toxic compounds and pollutant concentrations for each area studied. What they found can only be described as alarming…”average toxin levels in tuna from the most polluted areas were 36 times those found in the least polluted areas.” And what shouldn’t be too surprising, the higher levels of toxins in tuna were found in tuna caught off the shore of industrialized civilizations. While the levels of toxins in tuna from less industrialized were “relatively clean”.

There is a silver lining though, as “most of the tuna analyzed in the study would be considered safe under current guidelines…” The researchers stated that the most important thing to take from their study is what we mentioned at the beginning of this post, “it’s important to know where your fish was caught…”

To learn more about the toxin levels in tuna throughout the world, click here: