Review: Safe Catch, The First 100% Mercury Tested Albacore Tuna. The New Whole Foods of the Sea.

May 9, 2015 by     18 Comments    Posted under: Products, Reviews
Safe Catch Albacore

Safe Catch Albacore

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!

tunafish

tunafish

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 Skipjack

Safe Catch Skipjack

 

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.

Safe Catch vs Chicken of the Sea Opened Can

Safe Catch vs Chicken of the Sea Opened Can

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.

Safe Catch Empty Can

Safe Catch Empty 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.

Chicken of the Sea Empty Can

Chicken of the Sea Empty Can

Safe Catch Empty Can Comparison

Safe Catch Empty Can Comparison

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.

Safe Catch Drained

Safe Catch Drained

In contrast, Chicken of the Sea was soggy and mushy.  All the flakes were unraveled.  Nothing held together.

Chicken of the Sea Drained

Chicken of the Sea Drained

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.

 

Safe Catch Albacore

Safe Catch Albacore

18 Comments + Add Comment

  • just wondering what other metals may be leached from the can into the tuna, esp. since it’s cooked in the can. I so wish it was packed in glass jars. I’m very sensitive to many foods, & tuna is one food I seem to tolerate. But now I’m concerned abt. eating it every day bec. of mercury building up over time. thanks for your site:=) Dorothy

  • I recently purchased a 6 pack from Safe Catch’s website. Their tuna is good. My only concern is that on the box it says its custom packed in Thailand. Comes from California but custom packed in Thailand?

  • Saw safe catch on Shark tank!
    Could you reveiw the organic products in Green chef? I just subscribed im on my 3rd box.I just ate a barlet pear from them “organic” yet it had NO SEEDS.Also my raw yellow fin Tuna “product of Thailand and has “carbon monoxide to retain color” is this “ORGANIC”??

  • What about radiation content ? any tests there ? ……

  • American Tuna is amazing also and packed here in the USA

  • My local organic grocer sells tuna caught in Italy packaged in a glass jar. Tastes very good. It’s costly though, $9. So I limit consumption by half.

  • Would you kindly address the questions regarding from where this tuna is obtained? I noticed this question appears more than once and has gone unanswered. I too would like to know the origin of their tuna product. Thanks so much.

    • Please note that I am not affiliated with SafeCatch whatsoever. The following is from their FAQ on their website: “The majority of our albacore is caught in the Northern Pacific Ocean with a limited amount of albacore from the Southern Pacific Ocean. The majority of our skipjack is caught in the Western Pacific Ocean with a limited amount of skipjack being caught in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. We constantly investigate and monitor catch locations so that we can continue to sustainably provide the purest tuna available.”

  • I just stumbled upon this amazing product at the Grocery Outlet in the Bay Area, CA Dfor only $1.99/can! I grabbed nearly every can from the shelf I couldn’t believe it! Just wondering does it come from Thailand? I know it says packed in Thailand but distributed from Sausalito.

    • That’s a steal!

    • Please note that I am not affiliated with SafeCatch whatsoever. The following is from their FAQ on their website: “The majority of our albacore is caught in the Northern Pacific Ocean with a limited amount of albacore from the Southern Pacific Ocean. The majority of our skipjack is caught in the Western Pacific Ocean with a limited amount of skipjack being caught in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. We constantly investigate and monitor catch locations so that we can continue to sustainably provide the purest tuna available.”

  • hi,
    I was wondering where the fish come from? And also where the tuna is canned? US?
    thanks so much,
    debbie

  • I agree with the taste and texture of Safe Catch tuna. Now that is real food!

  • Thanks for the really useful info, Jothan and in light of the post from Rhet, congratulations. Without knowing about the safety issues and just based on taste, I switched to Genova light tuna packed in olive oil a long time ago. It has none of that nasty stuff in broth either. After getting your email I checked it out and found out that is packaged by one of the big boys but it is yellow fin, not the bland albacore. Costco and all the super markets seem to carry it. I don’t know if the liquid to solid ratio is as good as yours but it tastes pretty good and it’s nice to know that light tuna is relatively safer.

    • Thanks Jeff!

  • Thanks for the great info. And congrats on having a baby girl on the way.

    • Thanks Rhet. She has arrived and is amazing!

  • Thanks Sarena. I just submitted a comment on your website as you suggested. I would have done so sooner but we moved out of state and have been getting settled in our new home. Moving is a pain! Anyway, thanks so much. We love your product. It was a pleasure writing about it!

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.