Think again – is Tuna in Water JUST Tuna in Water?

Canned tuna is a great source of nutrition rich in protein and high in omega3’s. Canned – it’s shelf stable, generally affordable and a convenient pantry staple. For a quick lunch, I love tuna salad either on it’s own or in a lettuce wrap. Just pop the top – add a few chopped vegetables, some pickle juice and voila healthy living lunch is served!

A few years ago, with a newly discovered sensitivity to soy products – I started noticing a few symptoms immediately after consuming canned tuna fish. In my head ~ “I’m eating TUNA in WATER – it says it right here on the front label – it should be alright?” What shocked me (when I read the back ingredient label) is that tuna in water doesn’t always mean those are the only ingredients – shockingly it may contain SOY one of BIG 8 known food allergens or Pyrophosphate. Wowza!

Just recently I did my own investigative shopping. I purchased one can of every single tuna fish offered from one manufacturer – Bumble Bee. There are other brands I just happened to pick up the Bumble Bee. Bumble Bee costs about $2.99 per 5 oz can ($0.60/oz). All of the Bumble Bee products are canned in the USA and as you see below there is differing ingredients depending on the variety:

  • Chunk Light Tuna in Water (green on white label) – Caught in Pacific Ocean/Product of Ecuador.  Ingredients: Light Tuna, Water, Vegetable Broth, Salt. Contains TUNA, SOY.
  • Chunk White Albacore in Water (light blue on white label) – Caught in Atlantic Ocean/Product of Columbia.  Ingredients: White Tuna, Water, Vegetable Broth, Salt. Pyrophosphate Added. Contains TUNA, SOY.
  • Solid White Albacore in Water (dark blue on white label) – Caught in Pacific Ocean/Product of Fiji.  Ingredients: White Tuna, Water, Vegetable Broth, Salt. Pyrophosphate Added. Contains TUNA, SOY.
  • Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore in Water (dark blue on gold label) – Caught in Pacific Ocean/Product of Thailand. Ingredients: White Tuna, Water, Salt. Pyrophosphate Added.
  • Prime Fillet Very Low Sodium Solid White Albacore in Water (light blue on gold label) – Caught in Atlantic Ocean/Product of Columbia. Ingredients: White Tuna, Water, Salt.


Why use SOY in canned tuna fish? Food Manufacturers probably use vegetable broth made with cheap soy products to poach the tuna in the canning process. Is soy good for me? The soy beans used today in food products are not the same soy beans grown 20 years ago. More and more U.S. farmers are increasing their reliance on genetically engineered or genetically modified (GMO) soy bean varieties. I checked out the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website for some data. (Yes, I’ll admit – I’m a creative data nerd what can I say?)

The data is pretty interesting. For all U.S. GMO soy beans planted (including herbicide tolerant varieties) in 2000 only 54% of the soy bean crops were genetically engineered – the subsequent years look like this – 2001 (68%); 2002 (75%); 2003 (81%); and 2007 (91%). Just last year in 2014 – 94% of all U.S. soy bean crops were genetically engineered. Is there a correlation with the increase in soy bean allergies and the increased reliance upon GMO’s? The jury is still out however I’m hedging my bets that there is some sort of correlation.

Now we know what the soy is. What the heck is Pyrophyosphate? Pyrophosphate is Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate. BE FOOD SMART describes it as a “synthetic, edible phosphoric salt. It is a white mass or free-flowing powder that is used in self-rising and prepared baked goods to control the pH amounts in food”.   BE FOOD SMART also lists pyrophosphate’s possible health effects as “it is currently believed to be safe for uses in food at LOW levels. Excess phosphorus can lead to heart, bone and kidney problems. Overconsumption of phosphorus containing foods and additives can result in elevated blood phosphorus levels, which may contribute to osteoporosis.

Given that canned albacore contains GMO soy beans (although not listed as GMO soy beans they probably are given the data above)  and pyrophosphate – I’m gonna stay away from the big food company tuna fish brands.

I’ll stick with my home team favorite – albacore tuna from ISLAND TROLLERS. Family owned since 1967, ISLAND TROLLERS of Whidbey Island, WA offers BPA free, dolphin-safe, sashimi grade albacore in a can. Their fish is caught by American fishermen off the West Coast and canned right here in Washington State. Doesn’t get much better than this! The cherry on top is that their canned albacore boasts a clean and healthy ingredient list with simple ingredients like “ALBACORE TUNA, and A PINCH OF SEA SALT”. ISLAND TROLLERS offers a fine selection of varieties to include: alder smoked albacore, albacore with capers, albacore with garlic, albacore with habanero and their original troll caught albacore.


Check out their website or “Like” them on Facebook

Another bonus about this company is that ISLAND TROLLERS recently received a 2015 GOOD FOOD AWARD for their ORIGINAL TROLL CAUGHT ALBACORE in the Charcuterie Division. GOOD FOOD AWARDS recognizes U.S. food purveyors for offering tasty, authentic and sustainable food products. Out of 1,462 entrants, ISLAND TROLLERS was 1 of the 146 companies bestowed this honor in 2015. Check out the 2015 award winners

Yes, ISLAND TROLLERS canned albacore costs about $6.99 for a 7.5 oz can ($0.93/oz). I purchased some last week from CHUCKS PRODUCE  Isn’t $0.33 an oz price difference worth it to your family to eat healthy and to continue to support a trend setting WA State Company?

What other brands of Albacore Tuna do you like that that’s just right for you? Would love to hear about other sustainable good albacore brands out there!

Keep eating just the right things for your body!

Denise ~ Sated Sensitive

Denise Hays

Denise Hays

Welcome to Sated Sensitive. My name is Denise. Furry momma to 1 dog and 1 cat (^._.^)ノ . Married lucky 13 years to Mr. Fantabulous. We love Clark County! I have food sensitivities to dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy. I am now fully embracing the "right" foods to nourish my body. I'll be sharing ideas for healthy living tips for us sensitive food enthusiasts. Thanks for visiting!

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