food & drink

Baked beans or tuna?

In Britain they open a can of baked beans for a quick snack. In Spain a can of tuna.

Tuna is almost the ideal food. It can be used in salads, omelettes, canapés, sandwiches, etc, and is guaranteed to be cheap, tasty and relatively healthy. But we cannot continue eating it for ever - and maybe should start cutting back.

The boats of the big canning companies fish with long lines that stretch for many kilometres, but these also catch sea turtles, marine birds, and sharks.

In 2015 Greenpeace warned that issues such as sustainability should not be ignored, but for every fishing boat observing good practices, there are another 20 that have no interest in such matters.

In some countries, and the USA is at the forefront, producers have committed to only supplying 100 per cent sustainable canned tuna; elsewhere, however, it is just a case of pulling them out of the sea until there will be no more.

The other concerns that should concentrate the minds of regular purchasers include slave labour practices commonly found on many vessels, and a conscientious awareness of the dangers of eating it too often.

Tuna contains mercury, a heavy metal that can affect the brain and other vital body organs. The Washington Post, for example, is only one source advising against eating it more than once monthly, unless it is labelled as 'light'.

More than 80 per cent of the tuna sold in the US comes from unsustainable, destructive sources but Europe is way behind. Back to baked beans?