Portsmouth takes eco-safe tuna national

A Portsmouth purveyor of fish and seafood has begun national distribution of canned tuna and salmon that meets stringent Environmental Protection Agency safety guidelines.

EcoFish is distributing canned tuna and salmon that have been tested at an independent laboratory and meet or are below the levels of mercury and PCBs that the EPA has deemed safe.

Many health advocacy agencies, including the American Heart Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommend eating more fish and seafood, which can be low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA warn that some fish, like tuna and salmon, can contain unhealthy levels of mercury and PCBs.

Since 1999, EcoFish owners Henry and Lisa Lovejoy have focused their business on harvesting fish from environmentally sustainable stocks. In 2005, they developed Seafood Safe, an independent testing program that assays mercury and PCBs, two of the most common contaminants in seafood. As part of the program, they have developed a label that clearly indicates consumption recommendations based on the EPA’s “Guidance for Assessing Chemical Contaminant Data for Use in Fish” advisories.

Henry Lovejoy said the guidelines used on EcoFish packaging reflect the EPA’s guidelines for women of childbearing age, the most stringent of the agency’s allowable limits.

“The labels reflect how many servings per month you can safely consume of our fish because of the way we source our fish,” said Mary Jane McCraven, marketing manager for EcoFish. “You can have 16 four-ounce servings of EcoFish canned salmon and 6 four-ounce servings of EcoFish canned tuna.”

All EcoFish products are randomly tested through independent laboratories in Seattle and British Columbia in Canada and meet or are lower than the EPA’s limits for women of childbearing age, said McCraven.

An independent advisory panel comprised of marine scientists, including members from the New England Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium, advises Seafood Safe on program methodology, reviews standards and recommends which species and fisheries to harvest.

EcoFish canned salmon retails for $3.19 for the 7.5-ounce can, and the canned tuna is $5.99 for the 6-ounce can.

Currently, both are available at Portsmouth Health Food and Filbricks in Portsmouth, but EcoFish hopes to have canned and other products available at specialty and chain grocery stores across New Hampshire soon, said McCraven.

For more information and retail locations, call 877-214-3474 or visit ecofish.com. – CINDY KIBBE

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