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Nitrites and nitrates in yellow fin tuna. The Ministry of Health has announced a new recall involving various batches of tuna, the consumption of which could be harmful to our health.
The recall, issued by the same producer (Ittica Zu Pietro SRL), concerns the yellow fin tuna steak thawed with added water. Based in Bisceglie in via Warsaw, the company withdrew 6 batches of contaminated tuna after the Control Authority had detected the presence of both nitrites and nitrates.
How do you know if the tuna we have purchased is at risk? We need to read the label. It must bear the name "yellow fin tuna defrosted with added water", must have been produced by Ittiza Zu Pietro and must belong to one of the following lots:
- 2008218/21, with expiry date 6/6/2021
- 2008217/21, with expiry date 7/6/2021
- 2008216/21, with expiry date 8/6/2021
- 2008215/21, with expiry date 9/6/2021
- 2008214/21, with expiry date 10/6/2021
- 2008213/21, with expiry date 11/6/2021
Please do not consume and return the product to the point of sale or to the competent health authorities,
continues the Ministry of Health.
These substances are often used to season meat and other perishable products. They are added to food to preserve them and also help to hinder the growth of harmful microorganisms, in particular Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium responsible for the extremely dangerous botulism. Along with nitrites, they are added to meat to maintain its red color and improve its taste, while nitrates are used to prevent some cheeses from swelling during fermentation. The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) also explains that
nitrate occurs naturally in vegetables, and the highest concentrations are found in leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce. It can also enter the food chain as an environmental water contaminant, due to its use in factory farming, livestock production and wastewater discharge.
According to EFSA, in humans the nitrites and nitrates contained in food are rapidly absorbed by the body. Part of the nitrate absorbed by the body is put back into circulation by the salivary glands and converted by bacteria in the oral cavity into nitrite. But not only:
Absorbed nitrite can oxidize hemoglobin to methemoglobin, the excess of which reduces the ability of red blood cells to bind and carry oxygen around the body. Nitrite in food (and nitrate converted into ntrite by the body) can also contribute to the formation of a group of compounds known as nitrosamines, some of which are carcinogenic.
To read the security notice click here
Sources of reference: Efsa, Ministry of Health
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