California Sues Big Tuna

California sued the nation’s three biggest producers of canned tuna this week for failing to warn consumers that their products may contain harmful levels of mercury. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer named the makers of Bumble Bee, StarKist, and Chicken of the Sea tuna in the suit, claiming that they violated Proposition 65 — a 1986 ballot measure that requires companies to notify consumers of known reproductive toxins or carcinogens in their products. Lockyer’s office said it had tested the companies’ canned albacore and light tuna products and found levels of mercury that require disclosure, though it did not release specific numbers. The U.S. Tuna Foundation responded that the companies were in “full compliance,” that the suit “is not grounded in science and will needlessly scare consumers away from affordable foods that are good for them,” and that whatever trace amounts of mercury are found in tuna come from “underwater volcanic activity.” As health-conscious readers likely know by now, mercury poses serious health threats to pregnant women and their babies.