Canned tuna is a popular and convenient food item that many people enjoy. It’s a great source of protein and can be used in a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to salads.
However, there are some potential risks associated with consuming canned tuna that you should be aware of. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways that canned tuna can cause diarrhea and other health issues.
From histamine poisoning to bacterial contamination, we’ll cover it all. So if you’re a fan of canned tuna, read on to learn more about how to safely enjoy this tasty food without putting your health at risk.
Can Canned Tuna Give You Diarrhea?
Yes, canned tuna can give you diarrhea. One of the main causes of diarrhea from canned tuna is histamine poisoning. Histamine is a chemical that is naturally present in many foods, including tuna. When tuna is not stored properly, histamine levels can increase and cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and cramping.
In addition to histamine poisoning, canned tuna can also be contaminated with bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia coli. These bacteria can cause food poisoning and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
Furthermore, consuming too much canned tuna can also lead to increased levels of mercury in your body. Mercury is a toxic substance that can cause neurological and physical health problems, including diarrhea.
Lastly, the zinc used to line the tins of canned tuna can also leach into the food and potentially cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
Understanding The Risks Of Canned Tuna Consumption
Consuming canned tuna can come with some risks that consumers should be aware of. One major concern is the potential for histamine poisoning, which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and cramping. This can occur when tuna is not stored properly, allowing histamine levels to increase.
Another risk associated with canned tuna is the potential for bacterial contamination. Bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum, Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter jejuni and Escherichia coli can all cause food poisoning and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
Consuming too much canned tuna can also lead to increased levels of mercury in the body. Mercury is a toxic substance that can cause neurological and physical health problems, including diarrhea.
Finally, the zinc used to line the tins of canned tuna can potentially leach into the food and cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
To minimize these risks, it’s important to properly store canned tuna and consume it in moderation. It’s also recommended to choose no-salt-added or low-sodium varieties of canned tuna to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other health issues. Additionally, pregnant women and young children should limit their consumption of canned tuna due to concerns about mercury levels. By being aware of these risks and taking appropriate precautions, consumers can safely enjoy the convenience and nutritional benefits of canned tuna.
Histamine Poisoning: What You Need To Know
Histamine poisoning, also known as scombroid poisoning or scombrotoxism, is a type of food poisoning caused by consuming fish that has not been stored properly. Fish such as tuna, mackerel, skipjack, and bonito are the most common sources of histamine poisoning. Other fish such as mahi mahi, bluefish, marlin, and escolar can also cause this type of poisoning.
The bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae is responsible for breaking down the flesh of the fish when it is not stored at the proper temperature. The bacteria produce an enzyme called histidine decarboxylase, which converts histidine to histamine. Histamine is a heat-resistant chemical that can survive cooking, freezing or canning. This means that even properly cooked or canned fish can cause histamine poisoning if it was not stored correctly.
Symptoms of histamine poisoning usually occur within a few minutes to a few hours after consuming the contaminated fish. Symptoms include tingling or burning in or around the mouth or throat, rash or hives on the upper body, drop in blood pressure, headache, dizziness, itching of the skin, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, asthmatic-like constriction of the air passage, heart palpitation, and respiratory distress.
Histamine poisoning is usually self-limiting and rarely fatal. However, people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma or significant cardiac disease are at higher risk for severe bronchospasm or cardiac effects.
To prevent histamine poisoning from canned tuna or any other fish, it is important to store fish at proper temperatures. Fish should be kept at 40°F (4°C) or below to prevent bacterial growth. If you suspect that your canned tuna may be spoiled or contaminated with histamine, do not consume it. Symptoms of histamine poisoning can be treated with antihistamines such as Benadryl.
Mercury Levels In Canned Tuna: Are You At Risk?
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that can be found in many types of fish, including canned tuna. Mercury exposure can lead to health issues including poor brain function, anxiety, depression, heart disease and impaired infant development. It is important to be aware of the mercury levels in canned tuna to ensure that you are not putting yourself or your family at risk.
There are two main types of canned tuna: chunk light and solid or chunk white (albacore). Mercury levels in canned white tuna, which is exclusively albacore, are almost three times higher than those found in smaller skipjack tuna commonly used in canned light tuna products. This means that canned light tuna is a safer choice for individuals who need to limit their exposure to mercury.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), children ages 1-11 and individuals who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should select varieties of fish that are low in mercury. For adults, the FDA recommends consuming up to 8 ounces, or 2 servings, of fish per week, which can include canned tuna.
Children under six can eat up to one 3-ounce portion of canned white tuna a month; children from 6-12 can eat up to two 4.5-ounce portions a month. Adults, including pregnant women, can safely eat this kind of tuna up to three times a month (women, 6-ounce portions; men, 8-ounce portions). Canned light tuna is low in mercury and is considered one of the best choices for individuals that need to limit their exposure to mercury. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding can consume 2–3 servings of canned light tuna per week and children can consume 2 servings per week.
It is important to note that “gourmet” or “tonno” labels on canned tuna may be made with bigger yellowfin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the type of canned tuna you are purchasing and consuming.
Bacterial Contamination: How To Avoid Getting Sick
Bacterial contamination is a serious concern when it comes to canned tuna. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting sick:
1. Check the expiration date: Always check the expiration date before purchasing canned tuna. Do not buy cans that are past their expiration date.
2. Look for signs of damage: Inspect the cans for any dents, bulges, or leaks. Cans that are damaged can allow bacteria to enter and contaminate the tuna.
3. Store properly: Store canned tuna in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Once opened, store any unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
4. Cook thoroughly: If you are using canned tuna in a recipe, make sure to cook it thoroughly to kill any bacteria that may be present.
5. Wash hands and surfaces: Always wash your hands and any surfaces that come into contact with canned tuna before and after handling it.
6. Don’t feed it to pets: Avoid feeding canned tuna to pets, as it can cause health issues for them as well.
By following these tips, you can reduce your risk of getting sick from bacterial contamination in canned tuna.
Safe Handling And Storage Of Canned Tuna
To prevent diarrhea and other health issues associated with canned tuna, it is important to handle and store it properly. The following guidelines can help:
1. Check the can: Before purchasing canned tuna, inspect the can for any signs of damage such as bulges, rust spots, dents, or tears. If you notice any of these signs, do not purchase the can.
2. Store in a cool, dry place: Canned tuna should be stored in a cool, dry place such as a kitchen pantry or cupboard. Avoid storing it near hot water pipes or appliances that give off heat when in use. Keep the cans and pouches off the floor to prevent rusting and accidental crushing.
3. Use newer cans first: When storing multiple cans of tuna, make sure to use the older ones first and place newer ones behind them.
4. Refrigerate leftovers: Once opened, transfer the leftover tuna to a plastic bag or container and refrigerate it immediately. Leftover canned tuna should be consumed within two days.
5. Do not freeze: Cans of tuna should never be frozen as this could compromise the seals.
6. Check for damage before consuming: Before opening and consuming canned tuna, check for any signs of damage such as bulges, rust spots, or openings in the can.
By following these guidelines for safe handling and storage of canned tuna, you can reduce the risk of diarrhea and other health issues associated with consuming contaminated or improperly stored canned tuna.
What To Do If You Experience Diarrhea After Eating Canned Tuna
If you experience diarrhea after eating canned tuna, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids such as water, clear broths, or electrolyte-rich drinks. You can also add certain carbohydrates to bind watery stools, such as crackers, salty pretzels, plain pasta or noodles, and mashed potatoes.
Over-the-counter medications such as loperamide (Imodium) and Pepto-Bismol can help manage diarrhea and suppress nausea, but it is important to check with a doctor before using these medications. Using these medications could mask the severity of the illness and delay seeking expert treatment.
If your symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics or other medications to treat the underlying cause of your diarrhea.
To prevent diarrhea from canned tuna in the future, make sure to buy canned tuna that is packed in water instead of oil. Check the expiration date and look for any signs of damage or bulging in the can. It is also important to properly store canned tuna in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.