Man Eats 10 Cans Of Tuna Weekly For 2 Years, Gets Mercury Poisoning, Sues

Mercury poisoning does not only afflict egotistical actors trying to get out of Speed-the-Plow performances, but New York men who devour 10 cans of tuna every week for two years. And the latter variety may decide to sue tuna makers for their troubles.

The New York Post reports a mercury-poisoned man who obsessively ate tuna is suing Bumble Bee Foods for breach of warranty and negligence. He’s also going after Stop & Shop for selling the product.

The story says experts warn not to eat more than five ounces of tuna a week to avoid thermometer-like mercury levels.

Bumble Bee, though, seems to claim its tuna is mercury-free, in a statement from a spokesperson, semi-paraphrased by the Post:

There’s never been a case of mercury toxicity from eating commercial seafood in the US” and that “alarmism” on this issue “can have an adverse impact” on people’s health.

I had a tuna meltdown [New York Post]
(Thanks, David!)

Comments

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  1. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Who eats TEN CANS A DAY of tuna? That’s just weird.

  2. Costner says:

    The headline is incorrect. The NYP story says he ate 10 cans of tuna WEEKLY, the headline here days he ate 10 cans DAILY.

    Huge difference, although even 10 cans a week seems a bit excessive for anyone other than a BMW salesman of course.

    • dbeahn says:

      Fcts wrng? N rsrch dn? fnd tht hrd t blv! Wh wrt ths pc? h. Nvrmnd. blv t. wndr f Th Cnsmrst s “tkng t vr srsl” whn ths fctll ncrrct psts g p ll th tm?

      • chefboyardee says:

        yeah, i’ve tried not to get on the “phil’s articles stink” bandwagon but it’s like he just skims them and writes something up quickly without going back and reading what he wrote.

        and don’t you guys have editors?

        • Raekwon says:

          Phil is an editor. :-P

        • Brunette Bookworm says:

          I just emailed all the editors because I’m getting tired of these incorrect stories. It’s in the second sentence of the linked article! It’s not that hard to read it was weekly, not daily. If they want us to give them money to support the site then they need to act like professionals and correct things that are wrong in a timely manner. Of course, these shouldn’t even happen if they (Phil) would read an article and re-read his story and check the facts before posting it.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        To be fair, these posts are written very late at night/early in the morning: http://becauseitoldyouso.blogspot.com/2010/03/day-in-life.html Hopefully the nocturnal enuresis problem has cleared itself up.

        • ShyamasriPera2 says:

          9 AM isn’t that early…

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            If I read it correctly, it’s 9pm. While that’s also not usually in the fringes of the day, he also points out the routine of being woken up between 2-4am and using that excuse to write Consumerist posts as well

            You’ve been RTFA’d!

        • dbeahn says:

          Mh. H’s prfssnl wrtr? jrnlst? nd stll gts s mn fcts wrng? f w’r gng t s “h, t’s K tht Phl s bd t hs jb, snc h’s gt prsnl stff gng n!” thn shldn’t w jst cls ths st nd s “H, w knw tht ppl r ppl, bt lts f mplys hv kds nd prsnl lvs, nd t’s nt fr t hld cmpns rspnsbl fr nythng snc whvr dd whtvr r cm p wth whtvr plc prbbl dd s whl trd r lt t nght…”? f scrwd p t m jb n dl bss, ‘d b frd. nstd, th bn n nd ll cmmntrs tht cmpln bt Phl’s prfrmnc (r lck thr f).

          • zekebullseye says:

            Quote of last sentence in dbeahn’s troll post: “(or lack there of).”

            Yes, dbeahn, you obviously know a lot about writing as evidenced by your ridiculous spelling error. I won’t even correct it for you. You should look it up, troll, and stick to what you do best, which is obviously not writing.

            • dbeahn says:

              dn’t clm t b prfssnl wrtr. Phl, n th thr hnd, ds. fnd t qt msng tht n rnt b m bt hw Phl dsn’t gt hs fcts rght tht th mst y cn fnd t rp n n m pst s smpl spllng rrr. T sm p: Phl’s Prfssnl wrtng: Bg glrng rrrs n fcts nd cntxt. M nn-prfssnl wrtng: Mnr spllng rrrs.
              Thnk y, zkbllsy, fr mkng m fl prd tht m wrtng s sprr t tht f mn tht mks hs lvng s wrtr!

            • dorianh49 says:

              Actually, it’s a grammar error, not a spelling error.

            • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

              What spelling error? Is “there” or “of” spelled wrong? Perhaps the author is blind or has no use of their arms, and uses a program to dictate what they say. Shame on you!

            • shanelee24 says:

              And there it is. Anyone who complains about the integrity of the site is labled a “troll”. I’m sorry that you are such a fanboy that you dont care about getting little things like “facts” and “information” correct, but I come to this site to hopefully gain an edge as a consumer. It seems that this is not really a priority for the site anymore, or people like you. Let me spell it out for you. People that disagree with your views are not trolls. They are probably more aware of the big picture than you are.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Wow. He has such terrible eating habits.

          • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

            Folks, let’s keep comments on topic here. Slamming the writer isn’t appropriate or called for.
            Calling attention to a mistake is fine, but it’s long since been corrected and veered well into just being insulting.

        • shanelee24 says:

          To be fair? Its a news and consumer blog that basically reports stories second hand. How late in the day do you have to write a story to get facts that have already been verified correct?

        • White Scorpion says:

          Looks like Phil is overworked. His wife seems to have it pretty easy.

      • minjche says:

        To be fair, I don’t believe they make money off of the website. Normally I’d point out that an article generates ad revenue for the website, but they don’t run ads on Consumerist.

        Plus after reading SteveDave’s comment and the linked blog post below, I can see that this isn’t Phil’s day job. I half-ass my own hobby website sometimes, so I can relate.

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          They might not make money, but they are very clear its affiliated with the Consumers Union and Consumer Reports magazine. Donations are solicited on this website. It makes one wonder how carefully the guys are Consumer Reports are actually reviewing things if their coworkers at Consumerist can’t bother to get headlines correct.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Ah okay. I can’t open the story here. Thanks for clearing that up.

      Still, that’s a lot of tuna.

    • PunditGuy says:

      Don’t forget this tidbit as well:

      New York men who devour 10 cans of tuna for two years

      Wow. Ten cans in two years? Crazy.

      • dbeahn says:

        I love how he updates it, but doesn’t post “Edited to correct mistakes” or anything else that would indicate that this is no longer the original story.

        • RonDiaz says:

          Y t’s Phl dd y xpct smthng mr?

          • dbeahn says:

            To be completely honest, I’m actually sort of shocked that he did correct it. That’s more effort than he usually puts in.

            Phil does a *great* job (my opinion) on the morning deals, which makes his lack of attention to details for his other posts all the more frustrating for me.

            *sigh*

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      This is Phil.

    • Promethean Sky says:

      I eat about that much tuna. It’s delicious. I swear to [insert deity here], I actually carry a fork and a can opener with me everywhere, and if I’m feeling hungry, I’ll duck into a grocery store for some tuna. Beats buying a big mac.

  3. ShyamasriPera2 says:

    Really? It’s: “10 cans of tuna a week for nearly two years”

    • eb0nyknight says:

      That should cause a concern. 10 cans a day for two years is excessive. 10 cans per week, while moderately excessive, is not outrageous.

      Thank god I am allergic to seafood. Don’t want to suffer from Mad Hatter’s when I get old.

  4. Blueskylaw says:

    Revenge of the long-lived and high on the food chain fish, the new hit movie from the film division of Bumble Bee Foods.

  5. AngryK9 says:

    I like tuna and all…but that is nuts!

  6. dosdelon says:

    I think that anyone who eats 10 cans of tuna a day for 2 years has more problems to worry about than just mercury poisoning…

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Turns out it was weekly, not daily, so he probably had tuna for lunch every day and also for breakfast or dinner two days as well. The article says he figured it was a clean (I wonder if the reporter misheard that and he was actually saying ‘lean’) source of protein. It was also really cheap.

      It’s still a lot but if he’s a body builder trying to eat healthy on the cheap it at least makes sense.

      • Julia789 says:

        Yeah my brother did competitive body building for a few years, and practically all he ate was tuna and egg whites. (He really went overboard, it wasn’t healthy.) I’m betting this guy was a body builder or athlete looking for lean protein.

        Or maybe he just really liked tuna…

      • trentblase says:

        Bodybuilders often use the phrase “eating clean” or “clean protein” … but I think you’re right that it doesn’t mean anything much different from “lean”.

  7. notovny says:

    It is the sweetest of the transition metals.

  8. joshua70448 says:

    Fix the headline, Phil! It’s weekly, not daily, quit trying to sensationalize it.

    • PanCake BuTT says:

      Phil feels like he doesn’t have to hear you out! Phil will do whatever he feels like doing !

      - Respectfully Yours,
      Phil @ Consumerist & Posse

  9. bitslammer says:

    There are genetic factors as to who quiclky you body can process mercury. If this guy was in the “unlucky” group that processed it very poorly (i.e. slowly) then he could experience quite a cumulative effect.

  10. Darrone says:

    Is there an error tracker on Phil’s posts? It’s WEEKLY, which makes it FAR less ridiculous than daily.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Actually, it bolsers his case. 10 cans a day is clearly excessive. 10 cans a week is just some guy who really loves tuna salad.

  11. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I suppose you could argue that the limit on how much tuna to eat a week should be on the containers but I don’t see how he’s going to win the suit against the store for selling it.

  12. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    “There’s never been a case of mercury toxicity from eating commercial seafood in the US”

    That statement is wrong. Several years ago there was a case of mercury poisoning in New Jersey when a woman who ate a can of tune every morning for several years developed mercury poisoning symptoms and it was verified in hospital. The source was detemined to be the canned tuna.

  13. Skellbasher says:

    10 cans of tuna PER WEEK isn’t all that much for people who are big workout nuts and want the protein.

    (BTW, Reading comprehension is your friend Phil.)

    • drizzt380 says:

      Its obviously Phil’s enemy.

    • andyg8180 says:

      i agree… 2 cans a day for me 3-4 times a week is how i get protein… i guess i should cut back and go elsewhere for it :-

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Beans, other Legumes (lentils are great for protien and fiber), nuts of all sorts (avoid peanuts), other lean meats such as pork, chicken, and grass-fed beef.

        Beans are cheaper than tuna, but then the other meats start getting more expensive.

    • rdldr1 says:

      LOL, real workout nuts get their protein from mercury free whey protein shakes.

  14. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Bumble Bee does NOT claim to be mercury-free. The article doesn’t mention Bumble Bee saying this, nor can you infer that from the spokesperson’s quote.

    From the Bumble Bee FAQ: “Many types of seafood contain minute amounts of mercury called “methyl mercury,” including tuna. The mercury level depends on the size and age of the fish, and the area of the catch. Commercial tuna is caught in the ocean far away from coastal areas where industrial discharges or emissions and the use of chemical compounds containing mercurials can pollute the waters. That fact, combined with the essentially constant levels of mercury in tuna over the past 100 years, suggest that the miniscule amount of mercury that does exist in tuna is naturally occurring.”

    If you eat 10 cans a week for two years, then the mercury will build up. This guy has no case. He didn’t do sufficient research – he went by the ads and ate a ton of tuna because he thought it would be healthy.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      He didn’t do sufficient research

      To be fair, I doubt that most people do research on all of their food to make sure that eating it daily won’t cause some kind of poisoning.

      • minjche says:

        It’s his body, so as long as the product didn’t claim to be something it’s not, then it’s his responsibility.

        • somedaysomehow says:

          How is eating less than 1 and a half cans of tuna a day eating tuna “in excess?” I used to have a nutritionist when I was trying to lose weight, and she highly recommended tuna as a post-workout snack when I was starving, because it was high in protein, easy (all you have to do is open the can and get a fork) and affordable for me (I’m relatively low-income). I would eat a can of tuna a day, and then occasionally I’d have tuna on my salad for lunch. It never occurred to me that it might be dangerous since it’s supposed to be a great source of low-fat protein and good for you – guess I’m irresponsible, too!

          • minjche says:

            I think you’re twisting words a bit.

            I’m saying you’re “responsible” for your body in a manner that means you are ultimately accountable for your body and have to live (or die) with the result. Being “irresponsible” doesn’t seem relevant here.

            So if that makes it easier to understand, replace “responsible” with “ultimately accountable”.

            Do you personally feel “ultimately accountable” for what you eat?

            • FrugalFreak says:

              IMO people who produce the food shold list what is in the food regardless the miniscule amount. You are trying to give a pass to the business side where they don’t deserve one. If FDA didn’t mandate putting poison in food, would it be ethical just because FDA didn’t force it? Cmon, these industrialists are people that are supposed to have human decency.

              • minjche says:

                I’ve made it clear in other comments that I’m glad to have nutrition facts and ingredients printed on food products, and I’m appreciative of what the FDA does (well I appreciate most of what they do, but I’ll admit I wish they’d reign in the words “natural”, “fresh”, etc.). What the FDA does though is just a “perk” of living in the United States. It could be considered a core principle in how we call ourselves “civilized”, and that’s great.

                I agree 100% that if Bumble Bee were trying to hide the fact that their product contains mercury, that’s completely unethical. Their website has an FAQ that seems to suggest that some mercury is naturally occurring in tuna, but as far as I’m concerned the jury is out on that.

                As an aside, having experienced both sides (poor college student and working for large companies) I don’t have an innate distrust of big business anymore.

                I’m not trying to make a point about that though. My final and only point remains the same: What you put into your face is on you.

      • haggis for the soul says:

        I’m not sure how you could be alive in 2010 in America and not have heard about how tuna contains mercury and you shouldn’t eat it at every meal.

        • Rectilinear Propagation says:

          But if you didn’t know about the mercury would it have occurred to you to research it?

          People tend to think that food is safe for them unless told otherwise. If someone who’s never had raisin bread before decided to try it they probably wouldn’t bother doing a Google search on the toxicity of raisin bread first.

          Besides, I don’t think it’d make a very good defense for the company to just say that the plaintiff should have just heard of it before because a lot of other people do.

          • minjche says:

            To me this seems painfully obvious but I can also see that it could be considered an opinion.

            “People tend to think that food is safe for them unless told otherwise.”

            This is akin to a person buying and eating a pound of butter a day and suing the butter company and store when he has adverse health effects down the road.

            I don’t see how a food producer can be held responsible for someone assuming their food is safe unless otherwise noted. I mean sure we put warning labels on cigarettes, and I like that they’re there, but I still don’t fault a cigarette company if you willingly choose to use their product the same way I don’t fault Bumble Bee or the grocery store for this guy’s mercury poisioning.

            Consider personal responsibility. A person is responsible for what they eat (assuming this man has the money to make a choice of foods). A person is responsible for their own actions. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not it’s a commonly helf belief that tuna contains mercury. As long as that can of tuna does not have on its label (or in the case of the store, no claim on the shelves) “mercury free” or “guaranteed safe to eat in excess”, then it’s this guy’s fault he has mercury poisoning.

            • Rectilinear Propagation says:

              This is akin to a person buying and eating a pound of butter a day and suing the butter company and store when he has adverse health effects down the road.

              No it isn’t because 1) the amount of fat (with breakdowns of sat, unsat, and poly) is on the label and 2) fat is not a poison.

              I’ve yet to see anyone claim that they regularly look up their foods to make sure that they don’t contain enough cyanide and lead to make eating more than a certain amount dangerous.

              • minjche says:

                You’re missing the point here and making it clear that you’re adopting an entitled attitude and refusing to assign responsibility to a person (and that you don’t understand what poison is).

                “No it isn’t because 1) the amount of fat (with breakdowns of sat, unsat, and poly) is on the label and 2) fat is not a poison.”

                The fat is clearly labeled on the package, yes, but here’s the point I’m trying to make: The package doesn’t claim to have any more or less fat than what is reported. The same applies to the tuna, since it doesn’t claim to be “mercury free”. As far as I know, the FDA doesn’t require mercury content to be reported, so it isn’t.

                Bumble Bee makes no fallacious claim of the mercury content just like the butter manufacturer makes no fallacious claim of the fat content.

                Also, everything is poison. If you drank enough water without eliminating it from your body, you’d die of water poisoning. The only differences among substances is the dose at which it harms you.

                I’ve yet to see anyone claim that they regularly look up their foods to make sure that they don’t contain enough cyanide and lead to make eating more than a certain amount dangerous.

                Of course! I’d venture to say most people don’t look up the cyanide or lead content of their food, BUT that doesn’t make it anyone else’s responsibility. Cyanide and lead are extreme examples at best, but the idea of expecting someone else to be responsible for what you choose to eat is nothing short of entitled and arrogant. The FDA’s nutrition labels are great (I’m thankful to have them) but they’re by no means a right guaranteed to every living person. Look at nutrition labels in Europe, they have much less stuff on them.

                What the FDA does is a service, and I appreciate it greatly, but in the end, what I eat is my responsibility.

                • DigTheFunk says:

                  lolwut…..it’s ENTITLEMENT to assume that the food you eat, cleared by the FDA, DOESN’T contain deadly poisons? That, sir, is a very ignorant statement

                  • minjche says:

                    No, not at all. It’s entitlement to think that someone else should do your thinking for you.

                  • minjche says:

                    The FDA has been wrong many times before, and if you can believe it, there was once a time when there was no FDA.

                    A bit of healthy skepticism and rational inquiry into what you’re eating is worthwhile.

        • JoeTaxpayer says:

          Exactly. I don’t ‘research’ food. But I’d have to live under a rock to avoid this common knowledge.

  15. two_handed_economist says:

    “Bumble Bee, though, seems to claim its tuna is mercury-free, in a statement from a spokesperson, semi-paraphrased by the Post:”

    Nonsense. Bumble Bee does not claim its tuna is mercury free! Read their FAQ.

    http://www.bumblebee.com/FAQ/

    “Nearly all fish contain traces of methyl mercury. Canned tuna meets all health and safety standards set by the FDA, which has established the maximum safe level of methyl mercury allowed in commercial seafood at 1.0 parts per million. In the latest product survey by the FDA, canned light meat tuna averaged less than an eighth of that amount, and canned albacore tuna averaged about a third of the maximum safe level set by the FDA.”

    Read that carefully, though. as BB is not saying how much Mercury is in BB tuna.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      This does not establish what levels of mercury are acceptable nor how much is actually in their tuna. So a cunsumer is not warned at what maximum they can consume on a weekly basis.

      So it seems he has a case. Similarly to the man who ate several bags of microwave popcorn a day and got “popcorn lung” and sued. He won.

      • Arcaeris says:

        Methyl mercurcy is incredibly toxic. If it built up in the body at even a slow rate, even eating 1/8 of 1 ppm it wouldn’t take too long to get a toxic dose.

  16. andyg8180 says:

    I do like that the doctor “ordered a heavy metals blood test.” Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor AAHHHHHHH! lol

  17. CityGuySailing says:

    This is pretty bogus. Go to today’s Junkscience.com

    http://www.junkscience.com/

    • Marlin says:

      You do know that JS web-site is a right wing site that has funding from Corp groups looking to increase THEIR views.

      • shepd says:

        So, it’s just like all the left-wing sites that claim outrageous things that are usually backed by the same companies looking to promote their eco products?

      • Chaosium says:

        To be honest, I’m a leftie mclefterson and not a corporatist, but I agree that there’s very little science behind the arbitrary mercury limits, it’s fearmongering to prevent birth defects in women who don’t know they’re pregnant, your average to extreme tuna-eater isn’t going to get poisoning.

        Oh yes, and Jeremy Piven is a lying fake, but that’s obvious.

  18. deathbecomesme says:

    I eat about 6-10 cans a week because I like plain tuna from the can and its filling. Most nutrition books I read contradict each other on mercury poisoning from tuna so Im not sure if I should be worried or not. I just wish the tuna I liked wasn’t so dang expensive. $1.40 per can. I cant eat the store brand ones cuz they just dont taste the same.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The cats have learned to spell properly! Everyone, run!

    • zekebullseye says:

      I like plain tuna too. I don’t eat 10 cans a week though.

      My 8 year old son loves it and wants to eat it every day, but I restrict him to once a week. Even then I worry…How do I know If his system can detoxify it?

      • Chaosium says:

        “My 8 year old son loves it and wants to eat it every day, but I restrict him to once a week. Even then I worry…”

        Once a week? Is he pregnant? You can give him much more than that.

        “How do I know If his system can detoxify it?”
        It is naturally released from his system (if slowly), the only people that claim otherwise are lying to sell their snake oil “chelation” products.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      1.40 per can – you’re probably eating the albacore?

      I don’t think it has nearly as high mercury levels as does plain chunk.

      Try to vary it up, your body will thank you. Beans, legumes (lentils are win for protein and fiber!), other lean meats.

    • Chaosium says:

      “Most nutrition books I read contradict each other on mercury poisoning from tuna”

      It’s primarily idiots lying to the public instead of being honest about targeting “pre-pregnant” women. The risk of anyone actually being poisoned with average consumption of tuna fish is nil, barring genetic predisposition.

  19. ferndave says:

    Besides the headline, did anyone else notice the “5 ounces a of tuna a week” part? A can of tuna is 7-8 ounces. A decent piece of tuna in a restaurant is easily over 5 ounces. And don’t get me started on grandma’s tuna casserole.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      In what decade was a can of tuna “7-8 ounces”? Tuna has been in 5 oz cans for well over a year now, maybe 2.

      Not only has the grocery shrink ray hit tuna cans multiple times, but the amount remaining more resembles watery cat food than the tuna I remember.

      • evnmorlo says:

        Cat food was never that watery

      • teke367 says:

        I think the brand name tunas are in 5oz cans, but if you buy store brand, sometimes they are 7oz cans, I know the Wegmans brand and Costco’s brand (Kirkland) were 7oz cans.

        On a side note, if “experts warn not to eat more than five ounces of tuna a week to avoid thermometer-like mercury levels.” they are doing a really crappy job at letting the world know, I wouldn’t say that is common knowlege. And 10 cans per week is a lot, but it isn’t obscene, if you make a large sandwich for lunch each day, that could be a can per sandwich.

      • ferndave says:

        I just checked my cans and they were 7oz. Costco is trying to give me mercury poisoning!

  20. ferndave says:

    Besides the headline, did anyone else notice the “5 ounces a of tuna a week” part? A can of tuna is 7-8 ounces. A decent piece of tuna in a restaurant is easily over 5 ounces. And don’t get me started on grandma’s tuna casserole.

    • DoubleBaconVeggieBurger says:

      Yeah, I thought that was a little strange. I’ve read up to 2 cans of chunk light a week is acceptable for pregnant women.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Cans have shrunken to 5oz.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Until the shrink ray hit everything, Tuna cans were standardized at 6oz and 10oz I believe.

      So those 7 oz cans are missing 3 oz and the smaller ones are missing 1.

      • CyGuy says:

        Tuna cans used to be 7 oz, from the time I could make my own sandwiches, say the early 70′s, until I left College in the late 80′s.

  21. HalOfBorg says:

    Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo…………….. this is HIS video???????

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvC3M-cscV8

  22. Slave For Turtles says:

    Anyone concerned for cats who eat maybe a can of tuna each day?

    • haggis for the soul says:

      Most cats probably get their nutrition from crappy cat food that’ll kill them rather than tuna that’ll kill them.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Yes, but not because of mercury poisoning. Tuna lacks the essential nutrients cats need. Sure they like it because it tastes good, but they’re going to die of malnutrition if you don’t start them on real cat food very soon.

      Even if you’re feeding it as a treat, 1 whole can a day is FAR TOO MUCH.

      • brianary says:

        “Essential nutrients”? What, do you work for Purina? Can you be more specific?

        • clickable says:

          I don’t have a dog in this hunt (although I do have two cats), but I think the “essential nutrients” may be referring, at least partially, to taurine, an amino acid that is essential for cats. Without it, cats’ retinas deterioriate and blindness results. Also, it’s important for regulating heartbeat and other functions. There is no taurine in tuna; in nature, it is found only in meat. Thus, when brands like Trader Joe’s make canned tuna for cats, they supplement it with taurine (and maybe other essentials as well) to ensure that it provides the proper nutrients a cat needs. In fact, the prevailing suggestion is that people should avoid feeding regular tuna (i.e., “people food”) to cats, or at any rate, only feed it occasionally or as a treat.

          Also, for exra credit, the AAFCO is an org (not governmental but widely accepted as authoritative) that certifies that pet foods contain the minimal essential nutrition that the animals need to thrive and stay healthy.

          There is *a lot* more to this question (i.e., essential nutrients for cats, and dogs too, I suppose, and how the AAFCO determines its standards) and endless discussion about it online. But basically, suffice it to say that even though most of us know that cats eat mainly, or even exclusively, animal-based protein – not every protein is sufficiently nutritionally complete.

          Sometimes, when I dish out dinner to my cats that probably costs more, pound for pound, than what the humans are eating, I wonder how cats managed to survive, and, clearly, procreate prodigiously, when all they got to eat were scraps put out by the kitchen door.

      • Chaosium says:

        Trader Joe’s has the nutrients in, it’s not pure Tuna Fish.

    • Slave For Turtles says:

      I should be more specific. My feline masters adore “Tuna For Cats” by Trader Joes. Ingredients: Tuna, water, various supplements (AAFCO sorts of stuff). They’d eat it day and night if I permitted it.

    • Chaosium says:

      No, I’m not. I feed mine several cans a week, and it’s still much less likely to poison them than the melmanine-tainted crap you buy in a grocery store. (The rest I get from Trader Joe’s and Mud Bay.)

    • woody189 says:

      i’d be worried. Tuna actually isn’t as good for cats ppl think. And neitehr is pretty much ANY of the typical commerical dog/cat food. Just look it up, purina, beneful, science diet, iams… ALL filled with fillers. Wellness and the those foods are good. Feeding raw is even better (I know for dogs it is, not sure bout cats… Look up BARF diet).

      oh, and cats arent supposed to get milk either. THey are pretty lactose intolerant after they stop breastfeeding…

  23. Macgyver says:

    This is a frivolous lawsuit, and he will never win.
    How does he know it was the tuna that gave him poisoning.

    I don’t know where Phill is getting that Bumble Bee is mercury-free. They never said it was. What she said was
    “there’s never been a case of mercury toxicity from eating commercial seafood in the US and that “alarmism” on this issue “can have an adverse impact” on people’s health.

    I always said before, if the plaintiff loses, they would have to pay the defendant attorney cost and lost time from work.
    That would stop lots of these frivolous lawsuits.

    • evnmorlo says:

      He has a better case than those people who have won suing tobacco companies. Where is the warning label on tuna?

  24. jwardl says:

    Too much of any one things usually proves harmful. Tuna is known (by most, anyway) to naturally contain tiny amount of mercury. A casserole on occasion or a few cans a month a — even once a day for a short time — is unlikely to be harmful, but averaging over a can a day, EVERY DAY, for two years? Hardly surprising.

    And of course, the courts will probably shrug off personal responsibility and stick it to “big tuna.”

  25. jeffile says:

    How does this person prove he did consume stated tuna. And don’t be so quick to dismiss this case as frivilous. Remember the incident where a woman spilled McDonald’s coffee on her lap and won her lawsuit?

  26. pot_roast says:

    This is something that the anti-vaccine idiots should remain aware of – there is more mercury in a single tuna fish sandwich than a flu shot.

  27. prizgrizbiz says:

    I eat a lot of tuna. Oddly enough, when it is warm out, I get taller. Related?

  28. common_sense84 says:

    What can he sue over? Tuna naturally has mercury in it. It’s not some by product added in.

    If tune needs a warning label, that is the government’s job to require. Bumblebee has nothing nothing wrong, because you cannot blame them for nature.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      If tune needs a warning label, that is the government’s job to require.

      Why?

      Seriously, I’m not being snarky. Why does the fact that the mercury is naturally occurring mean that the company doesn’t have to put a warning on it without the government requiring it?

  29. zantafio says:

    may be he thought it was chicken

  30. usernameandp says:

    Hmm. There’s no comment at all indicating the difference between albacore and light tuna. If you eat light tuna, you can safely consume a higher quantity per week. See here:

    http://ewg.org/tunacalculator

  31. brianary says:

    Wait, doesn’t mercury accumulate in the body? We don’t have a way of reducing mercury levels, do we?

    If that’s true, and this guy got poisoning after only about 100 cans, does that mean that we can’t eat more than 100 cans of tuna?

  32. Duckula22 says:

    Staged case. The guy knew he would get Hg poisoning. Who the hell eats 10 cans of tuna a week anyway?

  33. Balaenoptera says:

    I’m divieded. My knee jerk reaction was that this is just another stupid suit, but if the quote is accurate and he took it to heart, i feel for the man

  34. H3ion says:

    Minamata.

  35. Conformist138 says:

    Sounds like a lot of tuna… but I’ve done it. Cheap generic-brand tuna ($.45/ea) with a little Parmesan cheese (all warmed up, of course) was pretty much my lunch staple for a long time. I got my food budget down to about $60-$80/mo by living off tuna, the cheapest chicken available, frozen veggies, and cheap yogurt. It got pretty bland and repetitive, but the bills got paid. Just glad I didn’t accidentally poison myself.

  36. classic10 says:

    Oh no…! I certainly eat more than 10 cans a week.

  37. gparlett says:

    Luckily correlation always proves causation, so we can all be sure that the tuna caused the mercury poisoning.

  38. sadkitty says:

    I got mercury poisoning… and I eat way less than the recommended amounts. I rarely ate tuna.