VITAL CHOICE® Q&A:
What is the difference between supermarket and Vital Choice custom
canned troll-caught Albacore?
We purchase young,
troll-caught Albacore from small-boat troll fishermen familiar to us, and we know exactly how and where the fish
are caught and processed.
Mercury accumulates in tuna
as they get bigger and older, so we select only the smallest troll-caught fish to ensure optimal purity. Not only does hook-and-line
troll harvest attract the "cleaner" surface-dwelling juvenile fish, but it is also more sustainable than alternative
In contrast, the Tuna sold by supermarket
brands is generally "long-lined." This harvest method involves deploying a long submerged line with baited hooks,
which tend to attract the larger, older fish having higher mercury levels. Long-lining is also less selective than trolling
and results in greater by-catch of non targeted species.
canned Albacore found in supermarkets comes from very large canneries using assembly-line techniques to process huge quantities.
Albacore Tuna sold by the major brands generally comes from
larger, leaner Albacore that has been cooked twice – once before canning to facilitate skinning and de-boning –
and again after the fish is in the can. Because of the initial cooking, many natural juices, flavors, and healthful omega-3s
are lost. The pre-cooked meat is then placed in cans with water, broth (which may contain "hidden" MSG or free glutamates),
or vegetable oils before being cooked for the second time.
smaller, troll-caught Albacore like ours have more fat, but it is easier for big companies to work with the larger, leaner,
long-line-caught Albacore in the assembly line environment. Starting out with leaner, older fish means that supermarket
brands are deficient in flavor and omega-3s, compared with Vital Choice Albacore.
How much mercury
is in your Albacore compared to other tuna?
Because we purchase only
the smallest-of-the-small sustainably harvested
albacore, it typically contains less than one-third the mercury found in commercially available alternatives. In addition
to being the purest fish, young albacore also have the highest levels of omega-3s. This is in contrast to the larger
long-line caught albacore, which are highest in contaminants and lowest in healthy fats. Furthermore, the larger fish are
extensively processed (twice-cooked) in a manner that further diminishes the omega-3 levels in the product you buy.
What is the time
and temperature at which the tuna is cooked?
The 6 oz. tuna is packed raw to preserve all of it's natural oils and nutrients,
and then cooked for 66 minutes at 250 deg. F.
What kind of olive
oil and salt do you add to your albacore tuna?
To each can we add a small
amount of "Real Salt" brand sea salt from Redmonds Minerals. Our extra virgin olive oil is from Spectrum Organics.
What is used to
line your Tuna cans?
Like most food cans, our Tuna cans are lined with polyethylene terephthalate or PET, which is an extremely common,
clearly safe food packaging material.
NOTE: Our Tuna cans contain NO bisphenol-A (BPA), which is a chemical
is used to make plastic more flexible. BPA produces effects in animals that raise some possible health concerns, but
has been repeatedly found safe by U.S. and European authorities.
PET is used in everything from soft drink and
water bottles to peanut butter jars and surgical implants. (PET lining is used in cans to keep the fish from acquiring a metallic
taste and prevent rusting.)
PET has been studied
extensively and deemed safe by many regulatory agencies. Like any indirect food additive, the scientific testing of PET is
based on two key principles: establishing that there is a minimal amount of transfer of substances between the plastic packaging
and the food, and establishing that any substances that may transfer from the plastic to the food do not pose a risk to human
Today, even the most miniscule level of migration of
plastic packaging into foods can be measured. These tests have found that the migration of any components of PET plastics
under laboratory conditions is well below applicable safety levels. Therefore, FDA has determined that PET is acceptable to
use in the applications for which it has been tested.
Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) –a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of issues
related to nutrition, food safety, toxicology, risk assessment and the environment – has comprehensively reviewed the safety
of PET in food packaging.
In a report issued in July of 2000,
ILSI summarizes the large body of test data that demonstrates the safety of PET resins and compounds for food and beverage
"PET itself is biologically inert if
ingested, is dermally safe during handling and is not a hazard if inhaled."
"No evidence of toxicity has been detected in feeding studies using animals. Negative results from Ames
tests and studies into unscheduled DNA synthesis indicate that PET is not genotoxic. Similar studies conducted with
monomers and typical PET intermediates also indicate that these materials are essentially nontoxic and pose no threats
to human health ..."
"It is important
to stress that the chemistry of compounds that are used to manufacture PET shows no evidence of estrogenic activity.
There is a significant body of evidence that demonstrates that the use of PET is not a concern and is perfectly safe in this
Haighton LA, Hlywka JJ, Doull J, Kroes R, Lynch
BS, Munro IC. An Evaluation of the Possible Carcinogenicity of Bisphenol A to Humans. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology
(2002) 35: 238-254.
International Life Sciences Institute (ISLI). Polyethylene
Terephthlate(PET) for Food Packaging. 200. Accessed at http://www.ilsi.org/file/ILSIPET.pdf
EU Risk Assessment Report at http://ecb.jrc.it/DOCUMENTS/Existing-Chemicals/RISK_ASSESSMENT/SUMMARY/bisphenolasum325.pdf