/* mobile /* end mobile MEDDESKTOP: Japan's Fisheries Agency says mercury found in tuna is not a health threat

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Japan's Fisheries Agency says mercury found in tuna is not a health threat

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Japan's Fisheries Agency said mercury found in tuna is not at levels that pose a health threat, disputing a report in the New York Times yesterday that mercury in tuna sold in Manhattan exceeded safety levels.

The newspaper said tuna sushi servings it bought were tested in laboratories and some contained 1.4 parts per million of methyl mercury, in excess of the Food and Drug Administration's limit of 1 part per million. Both the U.S. and European Union use the same limit, the paper said.

Japan, the world's biggest market for tuna, isn't taking any action in response to the report because the government doesn't consider the reported mercury levels dangerous, said Teruo Tagaki, the chief of the Fisheries Agency's products safety office.

``The newspaper is exaggerating the risk,'' he said, adding Japan's government is aware some tuna contains more than 1 part per million of mercury. Tagaki cited a 2005 study by Japan's Food Safety Commission that found ingesting as much as 100 micrograms of mercury each week presented no risk to health for a person weighing 50 kilograms. Japan hasn't set a parts-per-million limit on mercury content in tuna, he said.

The New York Times report said eating six pieces of the sushi it tested would result in consumption of more than 49 micrograms of mercury. That's the amount the Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable for weekly consumption over a period of several months by an adult of average weight.

Bloomberg Article

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