Consumers of food products have no other option, but to rely solely on the FDA to monitor and protect the store shelves from natural or manufactured
products that may be dangerously unhealthy. As this news report indicates, safety is not the focus of the FDA. Applied lobby pressure can lead to
arbitrary statements by the FDA that have nothing to do with protecting the consumer and leaves the consumer vulnerable to products that an
intelligent person would deem otherwise as not 'shelve-worthy', for the sake of a healthy decision.
In the fall of 1970, a chemistry professor in upstate New York reached into his pantry, grabbed a can of tuna and, on a hunch, tested it for mercury.
What he found stunned him: levels of the toxic metal far above U.S. safety limits. Embarrassed regulators immediately did their own testing, which
confirmed the professor's results. Government officials characterized the high mercury levels as an anomaly. After recalling 12 million cans, they
pronounced tuna safe to eat again.
But three decades later, canned tuna still contains mercury--sometimes in amounts as high as those found by the professor.
A Tribune investigation shows the tuna industry has failed to adequately warn consumers about the risks of eating canned tuna, while federal
regulators have been reluctant to include the fish in their mercury advisories--at times amid heavy lobbying by industry. When the Food and Drug
Administration updated its mercury warning last year, it arbitrarily classified canned light tuna as low in mercury to "keep market share at a
reasonable level," one agency official told an FDA advisory panel, according to transcripts of the meeting.
A top official with the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for the safety of commercial seafood, said in an interview that the agency
did not know the industry is putting high-mercury yellowfin into a product the government has explicitly recommended to groups at risk for mercury
exposure. "We do not have information on what is put in canned light tuna," said David Acheson, the FDA's chief medical officer.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The FDA doesn't even know what is being put in these cans of tuna, and as reported about half of all cans are mixed or contain Yellowfin, and
commonly contain up to three times the Mercury that is measured in true 'light' tuna. The industry has skillfully marketed these products in a
fashion that makes the choice or ability to identify the desired tuna, very difficult, thru labels that are very similar in design and appearance, to
phrases like 'gourmet' that lend to a belief of a 'better', or in this case, a 'safer' product.
"We do not have information on what is put in canned light tuna," said David Acheson, the FDA's chief medical officer.
... yet, there is no issue of calling it safe it seems, by the FDA.
[edit on 12/17/05 by FredT]