Bad news, guys. Recent studies have shown that mercury levels in tuna (sushi) have reached a new high. According to this New York Times article:
…results of the lab tests, which were conducted for The New York Times and showed that tuna samples from the Gourmet Garage and four restaurants had unusually high levels of mercury — above one part per million. The federal Food and Drug Administration can move to have fish containing that much mercury taken off the market, though it rarely does so. The four restaurants are Nobu Next Door, Sushi Seki, Sushi of Gari and Blue Ribbon Sushi.”
I know, it’s really sad. And what’s even sadder is it appears the sushi samples were taken from four star restaurants, which means, who knows what’s going on in the “discounted” raw fish I occasionally purchase from the .5 star restaurants I pass on my way home from work. At this point in the game I may have already ingested a thermometer’s worth of merc. You should be worried. For me.
Seems as though some people do not share my (somewhat worrisome) feelings on the subject, though. Take Sara B for example:
…despite being warned about the potentially dangerous effects of eating massive amounts of raw tuna, [Sara B] continued to purchase 12 pieces of tuna and shares with the reporter, “It’s something I enjoy,” she said. “I don’t eat sushi every day, so in moderation is it really a problem? It sounds like one of those everyday things they tell us could be harmful. Last week, what was it, caffeine for pregnant women is harmful? That’s common sense.
I see your point, Sara B, however, you just bought 12 pieces of tuna sushi which is a pretty intense purchase, in general. I sense a sort of “all or nothing” mentality going on here, therefore I don’t think I want to use your words as guidance. Also, I’m almost positive it did not just come out last week that caffeine isn’t good for pregnant women. I think the nation, as a whole, found this out in 1997 when Jamie was banned from drinking coffee during her pregnancy on “Mad About You.”
I realize Sara B probably wasn’t being serious, but I don’t like the comparison she used. And if she was being serious, well, as the wise Katherine Heigl once said in response to Isaiah Washington’s homophobic slurs at the ’07 Golden Globes, “[She] just shouldn’t talk. Ever.”
(That was a harsh statement, but I just think Katherine Heigl is ridiculous and I like to slip in quotes of hers whenever I see an opportunity to do so.)
But on the flip side:
[Deborah C], a management consultant who lives in Greenwich Village, avoided tuna at lunch at Megu, a restaurant in TriBeCa whose tuna had 0.87 parts of mercury per million in the study. She ordered Kobe beef. “What is safe to eat these days?” she said. “I’m going to think twice about ordering certain things, like tuna.” [Ms. C] said she had been eating sushi twice a month. “I don’t think it’s very good if you’re eating it a lot.”
Ah, yes. The ol’ Kobe beef fallback. I know it well, as I’ve used it many a time. And by many a time, I mean I’ve never even been to a restaurant with Kobe beef on the menu. But I have heard good things about these Japan-raised cows. Good tasty things.
Eddy S, 23, a trader at Deutsche Bank, who like [Deborah C] was weary about ordering tuna after hearing the statistics. “had lunch with two friends at Blue Ribbon Sushi, at 119 Sullivan Street, near Prince Street. Its tuna had the highest mercury level in the study, 1.4 parts per million.
[Mr. S] had heard about the findings before they arrived, and the first thing he said, before anyone in the group had had time to study the menu, was: “Don’t get tuna. I think it’s serious.” One of his friends, [Myriam T], 23, of Paris, said: “What’s going on? Why can’t I order tuna?” She ordered something else.“We had eel, shrimp, crab and vegetables,” [Mr. S] said later. “I’m going to eat less sushi, in general. I eat sushi three times a week, but I don’t eat a lot of raw fish, mostly California rolls.”
I like Eddy. Seems like good people. Likes to look out for his friends, et cets. But um, California rolls? I know, I’m judging way too hard here. Like, WAY too hard. But California rolls are universally known as the sushi that non sushi eaters eat, which is fine. And, Eddy’s non-loving feelings towards raw fish works in his favor in this particular situation, as he isn’t really compromising anything by ordering cooked food. However, shouldn’t the New York Times get the opinion of people who do actually eat raw fish? Yes? No? Maybe?
The article then ends with this:
[Ms. B], a retired teacher from Staten Island, had made her reservation [at Nobu] weeks ago — she had never eaten there, and did not want to pass it up after she heard about the study. “I said, ‘Let’s go to Nobu anyway, and if I don’t want to eat tuna, I don’t have to,’ ” she said. “So I ate tuna. But a small amount.” She shrugged. “If I become iridescent from it, I become iridescent from it,” she said. “I’ll glow in the dark.”
So, I have one final question…exactly how much mercury is TOO much mercury? I know that no mercury is good mercury, according to science anyway, and documented mercury-related deaths. But what amount of raw tuna does one (say, female) have to eat in order to become at risk of giving birth to a baby with three eyes or an extra limb? I’d like to know what I’m dealing with here. For the sake of my unborn child.
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