Review: Safe Catch, The First 100% Mercury Tested Albacore Tuna. The New Whole Foods of the Sea.
I was just sent a can of Safe Catch 100% Mercury Tested Wild Albacore Tuna to sample and write about. Like many of you, I didn’t know much about mercury problems in canned tuna. Nor did I know that there were FDA and EPA rules around acceptable mercury levels in canned tuna. I didn’t know that one can of tuna could be totally safe to eat, but the next can could have 9 times the amount of mercury levels than what the EPA recommends as safe to consume in one day. I also didn’t know that this was a concern for pregnant women and nursing mothers. I was completely oblivious of any of these issues, and ate my tuna fish sandwiches and my tuna salads without any thought of concern. But upon receiving my Safe Catch sample, I started doing a little research on the issue. Here’s what Consumer Reports had to say:
“Canned tuna, Americans’ favorite fish, is the most common source of mercury in our diet. New tests of 42 samples from cans and pouches of tuna bought primarily in the New York metropolitan area and online confirm that white (albacore) tuna usually contains far more mercury than light tuna.
Children and women of childbearing age can easily consume more mercury than the Environmental Protection Agency considers advisable simply by eating one serving of canned white tuna or two servings of light tuna per week. A serving is about 2.5 ounces. Expect a 5-ounce can to contain about 4 ounces of tuna plus liquid.
Results from our tuna tests, conducted at an outside lab, underscore the longheld concern for those people. We found:
- Every sample contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market. (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.) The EPA compiles fish advisories when state and local governments have found high contaminant levels in certain locally caught fish.
- Samples of white tuna had 0.217 to 0.774 ppm of mercury and averaged 0.427 ppm. By eating 2.5 ounces of any of the tested samples, a woman of childbearing age would exceed the daily mercury intake that the EPA considers safe.
- Samples of light tuna had 0.018 to 0.176 ppm and averaged 0.071 ppm. At that average, a woman of childbearing age eating 2.5 ounces would get less than the EPA’s limit, but for about half the tested samples, eating 5 ounces would exceed the limit.
In 2006 we scrutinized the results of the FDA’s tests in 2002 to 2004 of mercury levels in hundreds of samples of canned tuna. The agency’s white-tuna samples averaged 0.353 ppm; light tuna, 0.118 ppm. But we found that as much as 6 percent of the FDA’s light-tuna samples had at least as much mercury as the average in white tuna—in some cases more than twice as much.
Given the uncertainties about the impact of occasional fetal exposure to such high levels, we urged the FDA to warn consumers about occasional spikes in mercury levels in canned light tuna.”
That’s some pretty freaky stuff, and is all because man-made mercury pollution has tripled the mercury presence in our oceans. Have I been killing myself, my wife, and our unborn child by occasionally serving tuna sandwiches? I usually use light tuna (Skipjack) for sandwiches and white tuna (Albacore) for pastas and salads. So our unborn baby girl may be OK by her mother eating a few tuna sandwiches during gestation, but dang this is messed up stuff!
So maybe Safe Catch is onto something here. Safe Catch claims to be the only brand to establish purity levels that are stricter than the Consumer Report’s ‘Low Mercury’ criteria limit and average set in 2014 for pregnant moms and children (Safe Catch’s Skipjack tuna has a mercury content of less than 0.1 part per million, 1/10th the FDA limit). They have developed a proprietary technology that allows them to quickly test every single tuna fish they get their hands on to verify its mercury levels, allowing them to only process the low-level fish for their brand. Safe Catch’s Albacore tuna mercury level requirements are 70% stricter than the FDA’s. Is Safe Catch the new “Whole Foods” of the ocean?
Safe Catch Tuna Has Higher Omega 3′s and No GMO’s
In addition to Safe Catch’s low mercury level claims, they are also marketing their tuna to have 5 times the Omega 3′s than other big brand tuna. Really? 5 times? How could that be? It’s all the same fish after all. I was confused by this claim, so I had to do a bit of research on how tuna is traditionally caught and processed. After watching the following videos, I get it.
With the conventional tuna processing you just watched, up to 80% of Omega 3s are lost during the precooking process. Not only that, that tuna is often rehydrated with pyrophosphates, GMO vegetable broth, soy, water, oil, or other fillers.
In contrast, Safe Catch raw packs its tuna, sealing in all of the nutrients, and then cooks it in a proprietary process that yields an amazing taste (more on that below). Safe Catch tuna is free of additives, non-GMO (due to not using any vegetable broth in the can), BPA-free, and sustainably caught. It is not packed in oil or water. Liquids in the can are natural juices from the tuna. It’s just raw fish, sealed in a can, and cooked to preservation temperatures. That sure seems to make a lot of sense to me!
Safe Catch Gives You More Tuna in Each Can!
Being that Safe Catch doesn’t add any broth or liquid to their cans, I was curious to see what the difference in content weight was from regular brands. For my comparison, I used a can of Safe Catch Albacore Tuna and a can of Chicken of the Sea Albacore Tuna. The contrast was startling.
First off all, the two products look completely different once opened. Where Chicken of the Sea was full of liquid, Safe Catch was nearly a solid mass of fish in the can; so much so that it was somewhat difficult to get it out of the can without breaking it up first.
But once I broke the Safe Catch up a bit, it easily came out with a quick shake of the can. Surprisingly, there was nothing left clinging to the bottom of the can.
Compare that to the Chicken of the Sea tuna, and you quickly get an idea of the quality difference going on. The regular Chicken of the Sea was a mushy mess on the bottom of the can.
I strained each can, reserving the juices, and weighed each product. Very interesting results. Safe Catch weighed in at .75 ounces more meat! That’s quite substantial when we’re only talking about a 5 ounce can!
Not only did Safe Catch give more tuna, it was a significantly better textured product as well. It was very flaky and firm, whereas the Chicken of the Sea was a bit mushy and easily fell apart. Safe catch literally looked like a cooked tuna steak. I could actually see the protein fibers in the flakes! The flakes were densely packed and together, much like a pan fried tuna steak. It was beautiful for a canned fish product.
In contrast, Chicken of the Sea was soggy and mushy. All the flakes were unraveled. Nothing held together.
As if that wasn’t a big enough difference, the liquid in Safe Catch was a vastly smaller amount than Chicken of the Sea. Safe Catch only had 5 teaspoons of liquid in their 5 ounce can, whereas Chicken of the Sea had 10.5 teaspoons of liquid in theirs! Over twice as much liquid in Chicken of the Sea! That is liquid you pay for in order to just dump down the sink!
Safe Catch Tuna Tastes Much Better!
OK, so Safe Catch is a safer product, safe Catch is a healthier product with more Omega 3′s, Safe Catch provides more fish per can, and Safe Catch is a higher quality canned product with more dense fish flakes. But how does it taste? Does it taste any different than regular canned tuna? YES!!!
I started by tasting the liquid/broth of each product.
- Safe Catch’s liquid was very clean tasting. It was savory, fishy (but clean rather than bottom of the ocean fishy), and perfectly salty. It tasted like very good fish broth, and I found myself wanting to eat it.
- Chicken of the Sea actually tasted bad in comparison. It was bitter, too salty, and tasted fake. I had never noticed it before over the years, but the broth actually tasted like bad vegetable broth. It was actually rather disgusting. No wonder I just dump that crap down the sink!
Next up was the tuna. I tasted each product several times for a good comparison. Just a chunk of tuna straight in my mouth. No additions, no accompaniments, no anything other than tuna straight from the can.
- Chicken of the Sea tasted fairly fishy (as in bottom of the ocean). It actually tasted quite bad by itself. No wonder we typically smother it in mayonnaise and spices. Texturally, it was very flaky but very dry. I could taste the vegetable broth in each bite of fish. Compared to Safe Catch, my can of Chicken of the Sea was a terrible product.
- Safe Catch tasted VERY clean. It tasted just like cooked fish. There wasn’t any odd after taste or any other funk. Additionally, it felt lite on my tongue but had a nice denseness to it. It had a dry texture, like all cooked tuna, but was still moist in the mouth. It was clean cooked fish right out of a can. Amazing!
How Much Does Safe Catch Tuna Cost to Buy?
With this type of superior quality product, you need to expect to pay more for it. But how much more? about twice as much. Safe Catch can be purchased from Amazon for $4.50 per can for albacore, or $3.50 per can for chunk lite skipjack. Compare that to typical grocery store prices of roughly $2.00 per can for albacore that is full of mercury that will jack you and your babies up, and that extra price doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal (yes I know that with coupons and sales you can buy albacore for less, but it’s still worth the extra price). But even if mercury wasn’t an issue, the additional price of Safe Catch is completely justified in my mind for the better tasting, better quality, better health, more meat in every can product.
If you are skeptical, I encourage you to do a taste comparison yourself and let me know what you think.
Thank you Safe Catch for sending me a review sample of your product. I will be filling my pantry with your goods now.
The Bald Gourmet reviews and highly recommends Safe Catch brand tuna.