Stiftung Warentest: mercury and mineral oils in all types of tuna

Mercury and Co: No tuna product receives “very good” from Stiftung Warentest
The food inspectors at Stiftung Warentest had tested 16 canned tuna in oil and four frozen steaks for various pollutants. 18 products were rated "good" or "satisfactory". The content of mercury is of particular concern.

No sample was free of pollutants. However, the mercury levels were below the EU limit of 1 milligrams per kilogram of tuna. Other fish species may contain a maximum of half, but no product has exceeded this threshold either. However, in two cans of organic quality oil, the testers found critical mineral oil concentrations that could have entered the product from contaminated cooking oils or during the processing process. There was no danger to health.

20 tuna products tested
Tuna is extremely popular with German citizens. After Alaska pollack, herring and salmon, it is the best-selling edible fish in Germany. The Stiftung Warentest has now subjected 20 tuna products to a pollutant check, including canned tuna in oil and frozen steaks ("test", 9/16). The results don't exactly make you hungry for the fish.

No product received "very good"
“Tuna swarm through the warm and temperate zones of all oceans. The predatory fish can absorb a lot of toxic mercury from captured fish - it accumulates first in plankton, then in plankton-eating fish, ”the testers write on their website. In fact, they found what they were looking for in the products examined.

Not a single product received the rating "very good". The test showed that all fish products contained pollutants, especially mercury. "Too much mercury can damage the nervous system, especially in unborn babies," write the experts. Experts therefore always recommend: Pregnant women should not eat tuna. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) also advises pregnant and lactating women "to limit the consumption of tuna as a precaution".

Mercury is one of the most dangerous pollutants
Mercury is one of the six most dangerous pollutants that were listed in last year's poison report by the Swiss environmental organization Green Cross and Pure Earth from New York. The heavy metal can cause damage to brain formation in unborn babies and young children.

And in adults, mercury poisoning can lead to kidney, liver, and nerve damage, among other things. In addition, the toxic heavy metal is suspected of increasing the risk of heart attack and Alzheimer's disease. An increased cancer risk from mercury is also assumed.

Mercury limit values ​​for edible fish
In the European Union, large predatory fish like tuna must comply with a mercury limit of one milligram per kilogram. Other fish species may have a maximum of half as much mercury. The values ​​are controversial anyway. The consumer protection organization Foodwatch had sharply criticized the planned increase in the mercury limit values ​​for tuna and the like last year.

Mineral oils from contaminated edible oils
All 20 products tested by the foundation were below the limit. In comparison, the products from Followfisch, Deutsche See and Rewe received the largest proportion of mercury, but according to the testers, even pregnant women and nursing mothers could eat these and all other products of the test choice.

The Stiftung Warentest also examined the fish for other critical pollutants and found “with mineral oils that can get into products from contaminated cooking oils or from the processing process. Some mineral compounds can accumulate permanently in the human body, others may have carcinogenic effects, ”she says in her report.

Organic products also polluted
Organic fish is also not free from pollution. Concerning concentrations of mineral oils were found in "Fontaine" and "Pan do Mar" from the organic trade. The two branded products only received the grade "sufficient".

The test winner was the canned food from Aldi Süd / Armada "Tuna fillets in sunflower oil". In second place came the can of the Kaiser’s / Tengelmann house brand Star brand “Tuna fillets in sunflower oil”. Edeka's tuna steak made first place in frozen products. (ad)

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