Not All Tuna Are Created Equal
Most supermarket shoppers know that chunk light tuna is different from white meat albacore tuna. But you may not realize that not all tuna are created equal.
The taste, quality and healthful benefits of albacore tuna vary widely based on the catch location, fish size and packaging processes. The young, smaller albacore tuna caught in the waters of the Pacific Northwest are healthier and tastier than the imported deep water tuna that originates in the far east.
With all the major media coverage about the positive health benefits associated with the consumption of fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, it’s important to understand a few of the basics about tuna consumption.
Most albacore tuna sold in US grocery stores come from the older and larger tuna that live in the deep waters off the coast of Asia. These fish contain higher levels of mercury and have lower levels of Omega-3 than the albacore tuna that live off the northwest coast of the United States.
What about mercury content?
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in minute quantities everywhere. Mercury levels in tuna vary widely depending on where they live and what they consume. Fish absorb mercury through their gills as well as through the aquatic organisms they eat. A 2003 study conducted by Oregon State University discovered a significant difference in mercury levels found in older and larger deep water Asian tuna compared with the smaller and younger tuna found in the Pacific Northwest.
The FDA lists canned albacore tuna at .535 parts per million. A recent study by Oregon State University found that the mercury content in the smaller and younger tuna found in the Pacific Northwest had an average mercury content of .140 parts per million. Our albacore tuna products contain less that half of the mercury that you are likely to purchase in your local grocery store.
Ours is better tasting tuna!
As an albacore tuna grows, it’s meat becomes whiter. Whiter tuna indicates lower body fat. Lower body fat means less of those all-important omega-3 fatty acids and a loss of premium flavor. Pacific Northwest albacore tuna meat has a richer off-white color which indicates superior flavor that is rich in omega-3 goodness.
Aloha Fish Company products contain only wild and sustainable hook and line caught fish found in the beautiful and pristine waters of the Pacific Northwest. That means our tuna is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids with a much lower mercury content. Best of all, it tastes great!
Additional Information and Resources:
- Mercury Content in Pacific Troll-Caught Albacore Tuna
Michael T. Morrissey, Rosalee Rasmussen, Tomoko Okada
Journal of Aquatic Food Product Technology, Vol. 13(4) 2004
- Tuna Goes to Market: Experiment Station research helps launch new markets for Oregon Seafood through the Community Seafood Initiative
Alice Cascorbi, from Oregon’s Agricultural Progress, Oregon State University, Fall 2004