Canned Tuna

Tuna is a salt water fish that makes a significant contribution towards human nutrition. Fresh tuna is an oily fish and in this respect can supply significant amounts of omega-3 long chain marine oils in the diet. However, fresh tuna is expensive and perhaps not freely available to most consumers outside of coastal locations in tropical areas. Canned tuna is however much more widely available, but the canning process removes the oil and the fish tissue becomes rather dry. This means that canned tuna is a poor source of omega-3 fats. Further, tuna is available in different forms in tins. Firstly, tuna steak is the form that most closely resembles the fresh tuna structurally as it is in effect fresh tuna that has been canned. Another form of canned tuna are tuna chunks, which are broken down in structure from steaks to form chunks, and this process can be further extended to form flakes. The price of the tuna reflects this processing and tuna steak can be almost twice the price of tune flakes. Tuna tends to be more expensive than both sardines and mackerel in tins, but is cheaper than salmon, particularly if the salmon is wild. However, salmon, mackerel and sardines (and pilchards which are the same fish) are all rich in omega-3 fats. Therefore tuna is a good option as a source of protein, but other forms of fish may provide a more practical balance of protein with fat. 

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Jaffry, S. and Brown, J. 2008. A demand analysis of the UK canned tuna market. Marine Resource Economics. 23(2): 215-227

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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