Statement by Anne Forristall Luke, President, U.S. Tuna Foundation
Consumer Reports has "done a great disservice in discouraging canned tuna consumption through inaccurate and incomplete facts"
Consumer Reports is a valued resource for American consumers, but in its latest issue (July 2006), the guidance of the respected scientific, health and nutrition experts gets short shrift, and an American public in dire need of a healthier diet gets short-changed as a result.
In an era when heart disease is spiraling and obesity has become an epidemic, CR has done a great disservice in discouraging canned tuna consumption through inaccurate and incomplete facts.
The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2005. 29 325-334) has published a study concluding that if all adults reduced their fish consumption by 17 percent, an additional 9,500 would die from vascular disease.
Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, has publicly warned that those at the highest risk for stroke and heart disease will increase their risk if they stop or significantly reduce the amount of fish they eat.
Fish holds a prominent role in the USDA's Food Pyramid for its nutrition and health benefits. It is a healthy source of lean protein affordable for all. It is rich in good-for-your-heart Omega 3 fatty acids.
The Food and Drug Administration, after much research and study, advises that pregnant women and young children can safely eat 12 ounces of canned light tuna per week -- that's 4 sandwiches a week.
The USTF and the tuna industry have worked to promote the understanding of, scientifically-based practical nutrition advice for consumers that is consistent with the FDA, EPA and medical groups. Though all fish has some mercury in varying amounts, eating the right amounts of fish as defined by public health agencies delivers important health benefits for women, men and children.
The US Tuna Foundation (USTF) was established in 1976 to serve as an umbrella organization representing the various interests of the U.S. canned tuna industry, including the U.S. distant water tuna purse seine fleet and the U.S. canned tuna branded processors (Star-Kist Foods, Bumble Bee Seafood and Chicken of the Sea International).
The USTF represents the international and domestic interests of the industry on numerous issues from fishing access arrangements, to federal and state regulations, to national legislation, to domestic marketing.
We work closely with international tuna conservation organizations to ensure that tunas used in our canned and pouch products remain a healthy and viable renewable resource. In addition, we work closely with national, state and local governments and agencies on a diverse range of issues, including consumer friendly labeling, product safety, dolphin-safe fishing, nutrition and marketing. The U.S. canned tuna industry is proud to provide consumers a low cost, healthy and safe protein product that is high in essential vitamins and minerals.