Like sushi? Beware of pricey tuna


An article in the New York Times last week sent sushi lovers into a tailspin. A lab test conducted by the Times found that tuna sushi sold in 20 New York restaurants and stores had dangerous mercury levels. Elevated mercury levels pose neurological problems and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults, and is especially dangerous for children and pregnant women because it can affect a child's developing nervous system.

Most of the tuna was bluefin, a pricey type that usually lives long and grows to a large size, accumulating mercury as it matures. According to the article, a diet of just six pieces of tuna sushi a week would exceed levels deemed acceptable by the EPA. And surprisingly, the more expensive the sushi, the higher the mercury levels. Sushi bought in high-end restaurants contained higher mercury levels than tuna bought at grocery stores.

Times Columnist Clyde Haberman used the tuna scare to do a hilarious spoof, "Tuna Fish Stories, the Candidates Spin the Sushi." He "quotes" Senator Barack Obama: "We need a president who can get past the tired, old partisan divisions that pit one kind of fish against another. It's fine to get the mercury out of tuna. But all fish are in this together."