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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that as reports about the levels of mercury in canned tuna fish have increased, more than a fifth of consumers say they are “extremely concerned” about mercury in tuna, which led sales of canned tuna to decrease by 10 percent last year alone.

“Hoping to stem the decline and repair tuna's reputation, the industry is trying to arrange a government program to oversee an advertising campaign promoting the benefits of tuna,” the WSJ reports. “Called ‘Tuna - A Smart Catch,’ the ad campaign would not directly address the mercury issue, but instead would highlight the various health benefits of tuna fish.”

However, the industry is awaiting government approval of its ad program, which would be underwritten by a fee imposed on all tuna suppliers.

Mercury is toxic, and the industry does not debate that it can be found in canned tuna, only that the levels are so small as to be of little concern. However, the federal government has urged pregnant women not to eat more than six ounces of canned tuna per week, citing concerns that the mercury could harm the fetus.
KC's View:
Our only reaction to this is that an ad campaign that does not acknowledge the controversy about mercury may not be doing the consumer – or the industry – any favors. Not sure how they could address the issue without seeming to reinforce it, but ignoring the issue seems worse.