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What's Happened to Canned Tuna?


Shel_B
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A couple of days ago I bought some Bumble Bee brand chunk light canned tuna, and several days before my GF bought the Chicken O' The Sea equivalent. Wedon't usually buy this product, but a couple of stores had a super sale on the products and we decided to give 'em a try.

So, the tuna (both packed in water) contained soy! WTF ... Soy in a can of tuna fish?! Why?

Further, every can we've opened thus far has not contained chunks of tuna, but, rather, flakes. And all were watery, containing about 1/3 the can volume of liquid.

The taste was insipid, if that. The flavor was dull, the smell musty, and, overall, the product was completely unappetizing.

Oh, yeah, the cans only contained 5-oz of tuna (and my guess is that some of that was water).

So what's going on with canned tuna these days? Are all the major brands similar? We sometimes buy Trader Joe's canned tuna, and the difference is substantial, with TJ's containing no soy, substantially less water, chunks (and firmess) that is lacking in the major brands, and better flavor and aroma.

As a parenthetical aside, my cat wouldn't even eat the Bumble Bee.

 ... Shel


 

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Yikes! The Ecuadorian brands are still large chunks of fragrant meat in just enough water (only water and salt, mind) to cover them well and assure they don't spoil. I think people might rebel if they had experiences like yours with tuna from the local fisheries.

See if you can find Van Camp's, Isabella, Atun Real, or La Rioja in your markets (all of them get exported to the states) - they're hands-down superior. Isabella also sometimes comes packed in olive oil instead of water, and that stuff is amazing when it turns up.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Im glad its not just me.....

I have decided to no longer purchase canned tuna from my regular grocery store.

Ive been buying Star Kist Gourmets Choice solid light in water for years but

lately it no longer tastes like tuna.

If you research canned tuna, you will see that legally the tuna companies can use

many varieties (20) of fish and call it canned tuna. Well the recent batch of tuna smelled

faintly like ammonia. So the other day when I was at the HMart I bought a few cans of

Korean brand DongWon and they tasted like the tuna of old! It was fabulous!

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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I often buy Ortiz and one or two other higher quality canned tuna, but that gets expensive for some dishes and ocassions for which I want to use tuna. It's been a while since I purchased from the Starkist/Chick O' Sea/Bumble Bee triumverate, and I never will again. Even 59-cents is too much for 5 ounces of garbage.

 ... Shel


 

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So far the best price for Ortiz that I can find is at Berkeley Bowl, and they are pretty reliable about keeping it in stock. They sell smaller cans of Ortiz and it is cheaper by the pound that way than buying a jar or large can at, say, the Pasta Shop. Still not cheap, but presumably because it is bonito--and therefore a smaller type of tuna--it has less mercury. Your cat must be awfully picky. I'm sure the fresh fish counter at the Bowl has something he will like.

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So far the best price for Ortiz that I can find is at Berkeley Bowl, and they are pretty reliable about keeping it in stock. They sell smaller cans of Ortiz and it is cheaper by the pound that way than buying a jar or large can at, say, the Pasta Shop. Still not cheap, but presumably because it is bonito--and therefore a smaller type of tuna--it has less mercury. Your cat must be awfully picky. I'm sure the fresh fish counter at the Bowl has something he will like.

I've found that BB has pretty good prices for the tuna, as well as many other items. Stay away from Andronico's if you want to keep your paycheck <LOL>

I don't give Buddy fish very often, just when I'm having some and then he only gets a little taste. His preference is salmon, and he goes nuts for the salmon juice. His tongue is laping the lquid so fast that it's just a blur ...

 ... Shel


 

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So far the best price for Ortiz that I can find is at Berkeley Bowl, and they are pretty reliable about keeping it in stock. They sell smaller cans of Ortiz and it is cheaper by the pound that way than buying a jar or large can at, say, the Pasta Shop. Still not cheap, but presumably because it is bonito--and therefore a smaller type of tuna--it has less mercury. Your cat must be awfully picky. I'm sure the fresh fish counter at the Bowl has something he will like.

I've found that BB has pretty good prices for the tuna, as well as many other items. Stay away from Andronico's if you want to keep your paycheck <LOL>

I don't give Buddy fish very often, just when I'm having some and then he only gets a little taste. His preference is salmon, and he goes nuts for the salmon juice. His tongue is laping the lquid so fast that it's just a blur ...

My first Siamese(zachary)would go crazy when I went to the place on the counter,where I broke down salmon, cause he knew he was gonna get some nice fresh raw salmon,,,(good memories!!)

Bud

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For your standard lunch variety water-packed albacore, there's only one word you need to know: Kirkland.

P.S. Sometimes a crappy can sneaks on through the line, but I'd take a crappy can of Costco tuna any day over the grocery store brands. And, yes, I'm aware that Kirkland tuna is manufactured by Bumble Bee :biggrin:

P.P.S. I'll see your Ortiz and raise you Tonnino (still haven't coughed up the dough for Nardin).

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I also use either Ortiz or As do Mar. There is also a French brand that is quite good, but I've never seen it in the US. Has anyone tried American Tuna? It's supposed to be line caught, but it is water packed. The other brands I use are all oil packed.

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I gave up on most canned tuna years ago--it's so awful. How sad. When did that happen?

We shouldn't be surprised, given the sustainability concerns with tuna, that quality canned tuna is no longer an inexpensive staple. My guess is that brands like Chicken of the Sea and Bumblebee are trying to stick to an expected price point, and that lesser quality fish and additives like soy make that possible.

Ortiz is the only brand that I can reliably find that's of good quality and reasonably priced. I can buy imports from Italy that are excellent, but they're pricey. Worth a splurge, definitely. But not an everyday item.


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From the Bumble Bee Website,

"Vegetable Broth is added to our canned tuna products as an optional flavoring ingredient. It enhances the flavor of tuna, resulting in a more mild, delicate taste. The broth currently used is derived from vegetables such as beans, peas, celery or carrots. The broth also generally contains a soy protein, which is why some of our products declare, "contains soy."

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

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Oh boy. I normally buy this Fishing Vessel St. Jude tuna, packed in olive oil. It's a beautiful big chunk of solid tuna. Before that I had stopped eating tuna for many years, so all in all it's been about 20 years since I bought a can of Bumble Bee/StarKist tuna.

Then this summer we were at the beach with only a rudimentary grocery store available to us, and I picked up a couple cans of Bumble Bee. I just could not believe my eyes. It was like the scrapings off the tuna factory floor. Pulverized tuna sludge suspended in salt water. When I drained it, there were only a couple of tablespoons in each can. It was almost entirely water! And it smelled like cat food. It's incredible that both the St Jude and this stuff are ostensibly the same product. I can't believe enough people are buying this crap that it continues to find a place on the shelves.

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I don't know what sort of bumblebee you bought but the stuff I buy for sandwich salad ain't like that. I get a can that is pretty much solid tuna. Admittedly it isn't like the good stuff from Europe but its not cat food either. I think its labelled something like "chunk" or "solid" tuna.

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I don't know what sort of bumblebee you bought but the stuff I buy for sandwich salad ain't like that. I get a can that is pretty much solid tuna. Admittedly it isn't like the good stuff from Europe but its not cat food either. I think its labelled something like "chunk" or "solid" tuna.

Huh. Well I know it was "light" tuna. But I wonder if it was not "chunk" tuna. I wish I had taken a picture of it, it was truly astounding.

ETA: I just checked their web site and their three categories are "solid," "chunk," and "prime filet." I'm guessing that what you buy must be the "solid" and the crap I got was the "chunk."

Edited by Dianabanana (log)
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From the Bumble Bee Website,

"Vegetable Broth is added to our canned tuna products as an optional flavoring ingredient. It enhances the flavor of tuna, resulting in a more mild, delicate taste. The broth currently used is derived from vegetables such as beans, peas, celery or carrots. The broth also generally contains a soy protein, which is why some of our products declare, "contains soy."

I don't use that much canned tuna, except maybe for tuna salad sandwiches in the summer when I'm too lazy to do something else.

At any rate, I have some (three) cans of Bumblebee "Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore" (in water) and, according to the label, the only stuff in the can is,"white tuna, water, salt, pyrophosphate added".

What's pyrophosphate? :blink:

Anyhow, no vegetable broth or soy. But no "Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore" either. Tastes okay, but has almost the consistency of cat food. Certainly no solid tuna and not like what we got years ago from Bumblebee or other domestic companies. :angry:

Edited by Country (log)
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I may have mentioned this before. If you're looking for a canned tuna for sandwiches, simple quick meals or for additions to certain cooked dishes, give Trader Joe's a look. They have several varieties, all without added junk, and, if you don't like it, retrn it for a store credit or your money back, no questions asked. It ain't great tuna, but it's a LOT better than the junk we've been talking about.

 ... Shel


 

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Soy based flavor enhancement (basically glutamates) doesn't offend me half as much as salt. I can't walk into a supermarket and purchase a can of tuna that doesn't have added salt. It kills me. Sure, there's Trader Joes, but, honestly, the quality of tuna is really not that much better and the water to meat ratio (incredibly high) is also about the same. All TJs can give me is none of the extra crap- for $1.50, versus the typical sale price of the supermarket tuna of $1. Sure, I pay the extra 50 cents, but not without gnashing my teeth.

Adding salt to tuna is just so effed up.

Edit: And this is $1.50 NOW at TJs. Considering where TJs prices have been heading, who knows how much it's going to be in a few months.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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Some thoughts

1) you cannot feed cats straight tuna at every meal, it leads to kidney or liver problems

2) I was eating a can of tuna a day in a mixed green salad for months, I have developed stomach issues the past 7 months (not blaming the tuna just making note of it)

3) Hostess Yodels have changed their formula and no longer taste the same, as A LOT of things have changed to cheaper ingredients in this economy. Maybe its the same with tuna too.

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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