Fresh Tuna? Think again.

“25 million pounds of treated tuna, about 30 percent of total tuna imports, were brought into the United States last year, mostly from processors in Southeast Asia. Retailers in the United States buy it already treated.”

So what is the tuna treated with? According to “Tuna’s Red Glare,” an article posted in the New York Times, tuna may be red because it has been sprayed with carbon monoxide. This is alarming to find, as color is often used to determine freshness.

Some retailers report an increase in tuna sales after switching to the tuna treated with carbon monoxide. According to “Tuna’s Red Glare,” red tuna does not necessarily indicate fresher tuna. The freshest bluefin tuna is actually pink.

But deception easily follows. Bluefin tuna can also be known as “red tuna.” Spraying the tuna with carbon monoxide gives it an enticing red color. Surprisingly enough, tuna turns brown quite quickly; it is actually hard to get to consumers in time before turning brown. And the tuna, which was once a seasonal item, is now available all year. Not to mention, it often takes tuna a long time to finally reach its destination, so good color is hard to maintain.

The FDA approves the process of treating fish with carbon monoxide, but many countries including Japan and Canada ban the process because “it could be used to mask spoiled fish.” That is scary to think about. I like to make informed decisions about what I am eating. Spoiled fish for dinner tonight? Thanks, but no thanks. There are already enough reasons not to eat bluefin tuna, and the possibility of eating it spoiled just solidifies my choice.

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