Tuesday, April 16, 2024


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Canned tuna is usually found in every grocery store. But what to choose from the supermarket shelf? What brand of can and at what price? Or maybe you prefer Alonissos tuna in a jar?

“What is the best fish to eat?” I once asked a fisherman friend. “The fresh!” he had told me. “And of the fresh ones?” I insisted. “The freshest!” he continued, laughing. I don’t doubt him, of course, but at 10 in the evening, after a terribly hard day, I will not grill fish. I’ll open a canned tuna, pour it into my salad and believe that I did something good for my body.

This is, after all, why tuna has been chosen for decades as the ideal fish for canning. “Tuna by its nature belongs to the fish that carry “good” fa . It is one of the fattening fish, compared to e.g. with a conger, but as it carries this fatty mass in its body, it has an additional benefit to the human organism. When it goes through processing to be packaged, it keeps its body structure well, so you feel like you are eating something filling and tasty. Of course, we don’t forget the great principle of nutrition “in moderation”, meaning variety and moderation”, says Michalis Orestidis , food technologist – technology and innovation consultant.

He spoke to OW about canned tuna and what is being said about the benefits and risks of canning, while he explained why many nutritionists prefer Alonissos tuna among canned tuna.


What you need to know before choosing canned tuna



– What should we know about canned tuna?

A tuna can consists of the package, the container, i.e. the tuna, and the filler, i.e. the water or oil that is added before the can is sealed.

Oil offers great protection in terms of spoilage of a product, as it is difficult for microorganisms to survive there. I remind you that all micro-organisms need water, temperature and food. If we deprive them of one of the three, they do not survive.

Water as a filler also contains some brine, which is why canned tuna in water has a high sodium (salt) content.

The can as a package offers a safety, as the container is in a hermetically sealed environment, from which the air has been removed. Also, canned goods usually go through a slight pasteurization at 85, maximum 88 degrees, which does not change the shape of the product. Most foods that are “sealed” in a can have undergone heat treatment. Tuna, for example, is boiled, baked or smoked, and after it is cut up, canned and sealed, it is pasteurized.

In this way, an absence of air and a good filling, either water or oil, and a hermetically sealed container are ensured, which preserves the food for a long time.

– Why does canned food have a higher omega-3 content than fresh food?

Fresh tuna, because it is not processed, has too much water (as the human body is 70% water). Tuna that has been processed before being canned has had the water removed. So the omega-3 content of the fish is constant, but because we’ve dewatered the fish before it goes into the can, the percentage goes up in the components that don’t change during processing. One of these ingredients is fat.

– Can it have a higher content of heavy metals, which are considered dangerous to health?

Heavy metals, e.g. mercury, is carried by the fish itself, whether fresh or canned. That is to say, it has nothing to do with the packaging of the can, which in fact usually has a coating on the inside, a lacquer specific for food, in order to prevent the food from coming into contact with the metal and from polymerizing, from i.e. substances pass from aluminum to food).

– Why is Alonissos tuna considered better?

We usually judge the quality of the animal tissues we consume by the breed, by the tribe, by the rations, that is, what they eat, and the environment in which they are raised, the seas in this case. In Alonissos there is the largest marine protected area of ​​mixed area (which includes, that is, sea and land) in the Mediterranean and belongs to the Natura habitat. Many things are prohibited there, there are no e.g. crops so that waters with pesticides end up in the sea, etc. The seas there are proven to be crystal clear, so the tuna grow in a healthy environment .


What you need to know before choosing canned tuna



– While other branded cans from abroad contain tuna that we don’t know where it “holds its cap” from?

The big companies produce millions of kilograms of tuna in organized fish farms and, as they care to protect their name, they control the rations and the environment in which the fish are raised. At the same time, these companies are subjected to strict controls by various control mechanisms. Therefore, they make sure that what they will offer to the consumer is as “pure” as possible.

Of course, all these procedures have a cost, which is then passed on to the consumer. That’s why, when choosing, on the shelf, I will prefer the branded and more expensive can over the less well-known and cheaper one. And, without wanting to advertise, if I can afford it I will choose Alonissos tuna, which sells for twice the price of the average can.

– Alonissos tuna is not sold in a can, but in a glass jar.

Sealing is always the point. Metal is cheaper and easier to process than glass. Glass is the most expensive, but it is the #1 inert material. No matter what you do to him, nothing gets into the food.

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