This past October, The New York Times purchased tuna sushi from 20 restaurants and markets in New York City and subjected the samples to laboratory tests. The startling results were reported yesterday: Mercury levels of tuna from Nobu Next Door, Sushi Seki, Sushi of Gari, Blue Ribbon Sushi, and Gourmet Garage reached the “action level,” meaning high enough for the Food and Drug Administration to ostensibly remove the fish from the market. There was so much mercury found “at most” of the places tested that “a regular diet of six pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Health problems concerning mercury include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and neurological symptoms. It can be especially dangerous for pregnant women and children as it can damage the developing nervous system.
More from the study: “In general, tuna sushi from food stores was much lower in mercury. These findings reinforce results in other studies showing that more expensive tuna usually contains more mercury because it is more likely to come from a larger species, which accumulates mercury from the fish it eats. Bluefin contains more mercury than albacore or yellowfin.”
But here’s the finding most relevent to sushi lovers in Miami: “Although the samples were gathered in New York City, experts believe similar results would be observed elsewhere.”
And one last, worrisome quote: “No government agency regularly tests seafood for mercury.” --Lee Klein
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