Is StarKist Tuna Healthy?

StarKist tuna has had one crazy rollercoaster ride for most of its existence since it became a company almost 100 years ago. To this day, many people are still asking- Is StarKist tuna healthy, or are the rumors including- Does StarKist tuna have Mercury in it actually true. When you want to find out how is StarKist tuna safe for you to eat and finally settle where does StarKist tuna come from, this article will answer all of these questions.

Is Starkist tuna healthy?

The simple answer; Yes! tuna is one of the healthies food out there. Ever since StarKist Tuna was taken over by Dongwon Industries, the new owners of StarKist located in South Korea, the nutritional value actually improved! Dongwon Industries is one of Seoul Korea’s largest fishing companies in all of South Korea, ensuring that the tuna that is caught is healthier than ever. StarKist tuna now employs strict testing procedures for their canned meat to ensure the FDA limit is well below 1 ppm of Methylmercury.

Canned tuna is considered very healthy since there isn’t much fat contained in tuna, however, there is a debate on whether light tuna is healthier than regular tuna varieties. And though, white and yellowfin tuna typically have higher concentrations of mercury, it’s still safe and healthy to eat compared to Bigeye tuna. Luckily, StarKist doesn’t package Bigeye tuna and sticks with only the white and yellowfin tuna species.

Tuna has very healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids and is a major source of protein if you’re looking to stick to a diet or are weight training. This is why it’s a popular choice among bodybuilders and many fitness models. Obviously, sticking to healthy eating always requires the StarKist tuna that’s packaged in a water and not oil. This reduces your chances of tuna that is packaged with excess fat content.

It might sound completely unthinkable that there are parasites that are included in your StarKist tuna but this is perfectly safe to eat. These are parasites called metazoan parasites and they are found living in the gills of all tuna fish. You won’t actually see them since these are likely cooked and end up being part of the tuna proteins that are 100% consumable. One noted health watchdog group concluded that StarKist tuna brands rate 3.5 as a healthy food product.

Does Starkist tuna have Mercury?

This has been a persisting rumor that has dogged StarKist for decades, but has only been taken seriously in the late 1980s This rumor has been persistent with many tuna brands yet StarKist was a repeated name that came up as often as the cyanide in aspirin story that was spread among fearful Americans in the early 80s. StarKist tuna was also accused of packaging tuna that contained levels of mercury that had to be recalled as a result.

Long before the internet was available to talk about the potential dangers of mercury in tuna, the New York Times alerted the public about this threat way back in 1970! The truth of this matter is easy to explain since mercury can be found in all tuna fish. Some fish simply happen to contain mercury from their daily diet. This mercury is released into the water where volcanic activity is present, but not limited to seepage due to coal mining activity.

Now before you say that coal mining is a recent ecological disaster, the issue of Methylmercury in tuna is not exclusive. All fish and shellfish share this characteristic due to what eventually gets into our oceans through natural or artificial means. Coal mining for example has been going on for thousands of centuries. Some historians believe that coal mining began over 10,000 years ago. The ancient Egyptians were a big asphalt exporter!

Today, the level of mercury in tuna is relatively harmless according to what is reported in most national studies and obviously the FDA. For canned white tuna, this level must not exceed 0.126 ppm (parts per million) of mercury content. Yellowfin tuna is an exception that allows 0.354 ppm of mercury even if it’s canned, frozen, or freshly caught.

Is Starkist tuna safe?

There are many claims that people have become sick from eating StarKist tuna, but none of them actually had any extended symptoms aside from being sick. This has always been an issue with StarKist and many other canned tuna brands over the last 50 years (or more), that may have led to food poisoning at the worst. According to a recent article where the new owners of StarKist refusing to show copies of records to the FDA, is somewhat fishy…

With that being said, a look back into the StarKist history shows that food poisoning from contaminated tuna was the likely cause. Nobody ever died from eating StartKist tuna but suffering from food poisoning sure feels like you will. Processing fish is a pretty dicey topic and there are always problems in facilities that process fish products are being canned. It seems that StarKist uses pressure-cooking to kill bacteria after the tuna is packed and sealed.

This method doesn’t use potassium nitrate or salt, so the potential of carcinogens such as mercury is still present in low percentages. Botulism is bacteria that can taint fish and seafood very easily if tuna isn’t packaged correctly. Pressure-cooking would otherwise kill bacteria and makes the contents safe to eat. Unless the packages are damaged in some way or fail along the way, there is always the chance of getting sick from botulism.

StarKist tuna varieties

Checking their official site, you will be able to find the next tune products:

Inside the StarKist Pouches line:

  • Ranch
  • Herb & Garlic
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Hickory Smoked
  • Sweet & Spicy
  • Deli Style Tuna Salad
  • Bacon Ranch
  • Honey BBQ
  • Ginger Sesame
  • BOLD Thai Chili Style
  • BOLD Jalapeño
  • BOLD Hot Buffalo Style
  • BOLD with Rice & Beans in Hot Sauce
  • BOLD Sriracha
  • BOLD Spicy Korean Style with Gochujang
  • BOLD Red Curry with Coconut

Inside the StarKist Cans line:

  • Solid Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Solid Yellowfin Tuna with Roasted Garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Solid Yellowfin Tuna with Lemon Dill in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Solid White Albacore Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Chunk Light Tuna in Water
  • Chunk Light Tuna in Water 25% Less Sodium
  • Chunk Light Tuna in Oil
  • Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water
  • Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water
  • Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water 25% Less Sodium
  • Solid White Albacore Tuna in Oil
  • StarKist Selects Solid Yellowfin Tuna in Water
  • StarKist Selects Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water
  • StarKist Selects Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water – No Salt Added

StarKist tuna ingredients

The classic can of tuna “Chunk Light Tuna in Water” as the following ingredients:

  • Light Tuna
  • Water
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Salt.

As you can see, there is not too much secret on a tuna can as that. You can take a deeper look on your own in your nearest marketplace with StarKist tuna, but the can’s ingredients are not going to change that much (obviously the tune in oil will have oil as expected).

On the other hand, maybe you are a little curious on the ingredients inside a StarKist pouch. The Herb & Garlic pouch contains the next ingredients:

  • Light tura
  • water
  • sunflower oil mite wear
  • wheat flour (bleached enrd-(ed meat flour, niacin. reduced iron. thiamine)
  • vegetable broth
  • sugar
  • modified corn starch
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • autolyzed yeast ixtract
  • spices
  • onion powder
  • mustard seed flour
  • caramel color
  • natural flavors
  • contains:
    • fish (tuna)
    • wheat
    • soy

StarKist tuna nutritional facts

To end this section with the products information, let find out a few nutritional aspects of several StarKist tuna products:

Nutrition factsChunk Light Tuna in WaterSolid White Albacore Tuna in OilChunk Light Tuna in Water 25% Less Sodium
Units3 oz. can5 oz. can5 oz. can
Total Fat0.5g8g0.5g
Dietary Fiber0g0g0g

Is Starkist tuna gluten free?

Unless tuna fish are living on a steady diet of wheat or barley, tuna fish is 100% gluten-free. This doesn’t exclude the part that StarKist also likes to market some of their flavored tuna with added ingredients than can contain wheat or barley. In their Tuna Creations product line, they have one product which includes Herb and Garlic flavored tuna. This will include both wheat and barley which contains gluten.

Another example is their Tuna Creations BOLD with Rice and Beans, which also contains barley. This select product line needs to be carefully studied for ingredients before buying so you can see what’s listed. Here is their complete StarKist Tuna Creations product list, so you can check ahead to see if these include any gluten in them.

Where does Starkist tuna come from?

Much of the tuna that is caught in the wild for the StarKist label is caught within the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. These ships are then packing the tuna in ice and then bringing them to packing facilities where they are prepared and canned. If you aren’t so easy about where your tuna comes from, the Starkist Company has a nice little fish finder’ code that you can use to see exactly where your catch was caught.

It might not be so exciting to see the exact origin of your tuna fish, but might help you to relax better. You might also want to cross-check this location with the plastic tracker too so you can further rest easier knowing that your tuna are not consuming any unwanted plastics or cellulose material.

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