Who's Afraid of Bluefin Tuna?
Adding to the confusion around what to order at the sushi bar if you are concerned about food safety (and sustainability), the New York Times' investigation of mercury levels in tuna served in Manhattan restaurants raises many more questions than it answers. The Times reports that 5 of 20 samples tested had mercury levels so high "that a diet of six pieces a week would exceed accepted safety levels. This sounds like scary and bad news for restaurateurs and sushi lovers. Statistically speaking, how relevant are these findings? There has not been much research into the impact of high mercury consumption in adults, so how scared should we be? How variable are mercury levels from fish to fish? Do mercury levels in fish show any seasonality? Do suppliers actually monitor the mercury levels of their fish? And last but not least, what's a serious eater to do?