It is no secret that we often find ourselves going for canned tuna for the reasons of affordability and quick & easy sustenance when needed. Canned tuna is a generally inexpensive way to take in high-protein, low-fat food, rich in omega-3s and other essential vitamins and minerals.
However, because of the affordability and the quick & easy access to canned tuna, we’re oftentimes provided with low-quality fish. Most of the time, the canned tuna you eat is a result of a terrible process and a vicious cycle of labor exploitation, slavery, trafficking, inhumane fishing practices, and so much more. All so you can buy a cheap tuna.
Because of the complexity of the ‘canned tuna process,’ it can be hard to know whether you eating good-quality, properly prepared tuna.
So, in the following paragraphs, we’ll point out some of the worst canned tuna brands on the market. These brands are known for their terrible practices, low-quality tuna, and overall high content of mercury and other heavy metals. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The 3 Worst Canned Tuna On The Market
Chicken of The Sea
Chicken of the Sea is one of the largest tuna companies in the USA. It is an American, Thai-owned brand (Thai Union Group) of tuna you can find in almost every single supermarket across the country. However, this is also probably the worst canned tuna you can buy.
First of all, Chicken of the Sea is a controversial company. They’re known for notorious cases of exploiting fishermen, as well as workers who have reported physical violence at work (which are the ships where they stay for months, or even years at a time). The company is also known for contributing to ocean pollution and overall terrible, unethical tuna fishing practices.
Now, when it comes to the tuna product especially, it is of pretty low quality. There have even been reports of Chicken of the Sea tuna being undercooked due to an equipment malfunction.
Overall, we’d strongly recommend you stay away from the Chicken of the Sea tuna due to the company’s terrible work environment, ocean pollution, inhumane fishing practices, and low-quality products.
Bumble Bee Tuna
Alongside Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee is one of the best-known canned tuna brands in the country. It is also the oldest tuna brand in the USA, which makes it a reliable choice for numerous generations of consumers. However, Bumble Bee is also a controversial canned tuna brand, known for the unfortunate events of human rights violations and animal abuse.
For example, it has been reported that Bumble Bee fishermen have cut the fins off living sharks and then them the poor sharks into the water again to die a terrible death. There are also cases of fishermen exploitation, forced labor, and generally questionable production practices. Bumble Bee also practices illegal fishing, overfishing, and animal abuse as a form of economical gain.
When it comes to the Bumble Bee tuna itself, it is of below-average quality. The quality of the tuna also varies and is generally of a tough consistency. That is not something you want to eat, especially when you’re looking to consume high-quality food. Overall, we’d strongly suggest you avoid Bumble Bee canned tuna and save you money. Moreover, you should avoid these tuna brands because it is not environmentally friendly and violate human rights, and promotes animal abuse.
For years, the Korean-owned canned tuna brand StarKist has been in the center of tuna market controversy. For example, in 2011, the company simply refused to follow the FDA food hazard regulations and rules, because their product has been deemed to be adulterated. Another issue with this company arose in regards to fixing prices of their canned tuna as well as the issue with the dolphin by-catch when the company’s fishermen catch tuna.
Overall speaking, StarKist is known to be a completely environmentally unsustainable company, as it contributes to pollution, animal abuse, and endangers dolphins and other fish in the sea during fishing and overfishing practices.
When it comes to the tuna product itself, it is of below-average quality. StarKist is also not transparent regarding the origins of their tuna, so there is no way of knowing the actual quality of the product. Generally speaking, customers do complain about StarKist tuna being too dry or having a weird color. Sometimes, there are complaints regarding the tuna taste.
We’d strongly recommend you also stay away from StarKist tuna since the company has pretty questionable production practices and doesn’t follow food hazard regulations. It promotes animal abuse and human rights violation, as well as endangers dolphins and tuna fish in the ocean by overfishing and by-catching.
Other Questionable Canned Tuna Brands
According to the environmental non-profit Greenpeace USA, the aforementioned tuna companies are the biggest but also the worst ranking in their evaluation. However, some other big brands in the USA have ranked pretty poorly.
We’ll discuss those brands in the following paragraphs as a suggestion to keep an eye on their tuna products ad possibly avoid them. We do have to mention that these are the most affordable canned tuna brands on the market and that by doing this we’re probably taking away people’s opportunity to buy affordable canned tuna.
But, sometimes it is really important to point out major issues and potentially harmful effects certain products have on our health and environment.
Walmart Great Value Canned Tuna
Walmart is one of the biggest buyers and sellers of canned tuna in the country. But, the canned tuna Walmart sells, Great Value tuna, is predominantly owned and made by the aforementioned Thai Union Group, known for questionable tuna sourcing policies and human rights violations. The company exploits its workers, endangers their lives, and even partakes in human trafficking and forced labor. The working conditions of these people are inhumane, to say the least.
Walmart has been a part of several seafood industry scandals due to questionable supply chains, unknown tuna origins, unknown product quality, human rights, and labor issues, and so much more. So, if you can, try to avoid the Walmart Great Value tuna and opt for brands that pay attention to their workers, tuna sources, environment, and product quality.
Costco Kirkland Canned Tuna
The Costco Kirkland canned tuna is sourced and packaged by the aforementioned, controversial Bumble Bee company. Even though they present themselves as the best producers of the highest-quality Albacore tuna, the truth couldn’t be further from that.
The Costco Kirkland tuna is ranked as one of the worst canned tuna brands by the Greenpeace environmental organization. It is not a sustainable brand and is generally known for unfair, unethical, unsustainable fishing and production practices. So, if you can try to avoid the Kirkland Albacore tuna at Costco and look for more ethical, sustainable canned tuna alternatives.
Kroger Canned Tuna
In 2019, the FDA recalled the yellowfin tuna steaks sold at Kroger. Consumers experienced symptoms of scombroid poisoning after eating the fish. In fact, poisoning cases were connected to three separate Kroger stores. Ever since this scandal, customers have been really careful about the Kroger canned tuna, and we advise the same to you. If able, try to avoid buying Kroger canned tuna since the company has been tied to some serious food hazard scandals.
What Is The Best, Reliable, and Safe Canned Tuna To Buy?
Next time you go to Costco, or any other supermarket chain, we’d recommend you look for the Wild Planet canned tuna. This is a top-ranking canned tuna brand with a strong sustainability policy.
The brand is transparent about its tuna sources and origins, as well as displays its sustainability mission on the tuna packaging. Wild Planet tuna is caught in California and packaged/canned in Oregon. If you want to buy high-quality, sustainable canned tuna from a brand that is transparent about its practices and follows human rights and humane tuna fishing, then go for Wild Planet.
This is probably one of the best-canned tunas on the market. Spain-based Oritz is a company that focuses on providing high-quality tuna. The company uses line-caught Albacore from the Cantabrian Sea. This means that its fishing practices are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Oritz is a company that takes pride in its five generations of sustainable fishing and tuna processing, so you know you’re getting the creme de la creme of tuna that was caught in humane ways. Make sure to check out Oritz canned tuna; we recommend you buy in bulk to save more money.
Tonnina is a Costa Rica-based company that follows the European tradition of high-quality tuna being placed in glass jars. This is a traditional way of displaying high-quality tuna meat.
Tonnina is also a company that focuses on sustainability and a safe, reliable working environment for its fishermen. Consumers can also trace the tuna origin and have an insight into the ways the tuna was caught and processed. The yellowfin Tonnina tuna is caught in a dolphin-safe area, using the net-like contraption.
The Whole Foods Market’s 365 canned tuna is an exceptional choice if you want to buy high-quality, properly-sourced, and environmentally friendly canned tuna. The 365tuna is Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.
This means that the tuna was evaluated by a third party in accordance with the MSC Fisheries Standard, and proven to be healthy, and good for the ecosystem. The 365 tuna is high-quality, tasty, protein-packed tuna you can eat however you want. It has a strong, natural tuna flavor, so don’t be surprised by the scent and flavor; it is real tuna.
American Tuna is one of the best-canned tuna brands in the country. First of all, American Tuna is a brand that is highly rated by the Greenpeace organization. The tuna is caught using the pole and line method, which is essential for proper, humane, sustainable fishing and ocean conservation.
This is also probably the healthiest canned tuna on the market. One can contain only 5 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of saturated fat. There are also 14 grams of protein and only 100 calories overall. American Tuna comes in a variety of flavors, from the jalapeno, brick-smoked to garlic, there’s something for everyone’s taste and preferences.
Finding a good-quality canned tuna that is also affordable and accessible can be pretty hard. There are so many brands to choose from and every brand seems to claim the same thing; that their tuna is the best one. However, behind the scenes show that the majority of the biggest tuna brands are actually completely corrupted and associated with human rights violations or animal abuse cases.
Hopefully, our insight into the worst canned tuna brands was helpful in terms of helping you narrow down your choices. Bu avoiding the worst canned tuna brands, you’ll not only save money but contribute to good, sustainable brands as well as receive high-quality tuna.
When buying tuna, always make sure to check the brand’s parent company, country of origin and see whether the company is transparent about the source of its tuna. Also, always check online whether the brand is sustainable, protective of its workers, and respectful towards the fish.
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