Precautions to observe when eating canned tuna

When eating canned tuna as a healthy addition to a salad or sandwich, you have to think again. You might be surprised on what is present in the tuna that you are about to eat. Even though tuna offers the highly beneficial omega-3 fatty acids along with minerals and vitamins, canned tuna can also contain mercury, histamines, bacteria and even excess amounts of sodium.

Mercury in canned tuna

There is a possibility that canned tuna might contain mercury which is a heavy metal that is toxic even in small doses. It is important to note that tuna swim in water that contain elevated amounts of methymercury which is a substance that impairs the nervous system, especially among fetuses, infants and young children. Albacore tuna contains high amounts of mercury than light tuna.

Canned tuna

The symptoms of bacterial contamination include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping which occurs 4-63 hours after consumption.

Bacterial contamination

Just like with other foods, there is a risk for canned tuna to be contaminated with pathological bacteria such as salmonella, clostridium botulinum, shigella, Escherichia coli and campylobacteria jejuni. All of these can cause food poisoning and even death if not treated right away. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping which occurs 4-63 hours after consumption. You can learn how to manage the symptoms of food poisoning if you will register for first aid training.

Food poisoning typically resolves within several days. The cases that cause severe symptoms might require medical care. Take note that medical care is required once the symptoms continues to persist.

The doctor might be able to diagnose the type of food poisoning based on the symptoms of the individual. In case a diagnosis could not be made, a stool sample might be requested to help identify the exact cause of the food poisoning.

Oftentimes, the treatment involves rehydration after the loss of fluids due to diarrhea and vomiting. This is usually done with the administration of intravenous fluids. In most cases, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics if the food poisoning was caused by bacteria. If you suspect that an individual is experiencing food poisoning, a doctor should be consulted.


Sodium is basically a mineral vital to life. On the other hand, once consumed in excessive amounts, sodium can increase the blood pressure as well as increase the risk for stroke. Tuna contains sodium and most canned tuna products have additional sodium. If canned tuna is eaten, it is best to select products that have low sodium or does not have added salt.

Presence of histamine

When it comes to histamine poisoning or scrombroid poisoning, it can occur if the canned tuna was not handled properly after it was opened. The histamine forms once the free amino acid histidine and bacteria already present in the tuna interact with one another. Once the canned tuna is opened, the tuna must be eaten within two hours or refrigerated.


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