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U.S. TUNA INDUSTRY RESPONDS TO CONSUMER REPORTS' ARTICLE ON CANNED TUNA

 U.S. TUNA INDUSTRY RESPONDS TO CONSUMER REPORTS' ARTICLE
 ON CANNED TUNA
 SAN DIEGO, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Tuna Foundation (USTF), an association representing all major U.S. tuna processors, stated today that while it agrees with Consumer Reports' conclusion that "we consider tuna to be a safe food with much to recommend it nutritionally," it does not accept the magazine's claim that it found "extraneous matter" of the type described in cans of tuna.
 "We find it hard to understand how Consumer Reports arrived at that," said USTF Executive Director David Burney. "In our opinion, it is inconsistent with the facts." USTF requested clarification from Consumer Reports regarding the magazine's sampling, testing methodology and findings, but has not received a response.
 "All U.S. tuna canneries are operated to exacting standards of cleanliness and sanitation based on strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations; the workers are well-trained; quality control is a priority," Burney said. "Tuna canneries have long been considered the model for the entire seafood processing industry when it comes to clean, safe operations and a wholesome, quality product."
 Tuna canneries undergo regular government inspection. All tuna processing plants in the United States and its territories (including Puerto Rico and American Samoa) are inspected by the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce and by local health departments.
 U.S. tuna processors' plants in foreign countries (such as Thailand, Indonesia and Ecuador) are inspected by local government health inspectors and, under a recently enacted program, may be inspected by the Food and Drug Administration.
 All of these inspections include as a primary focus the sanitation and housekeeping practices at the facilities, and employ hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) principles, which place particular attention on specific points in the canning process where contamination problems could occur.
 In addition, all major U.S. tuna brands pack tuna for U.S. government contracts, which require continuous inspection by the U.S Department of Commerce. These contracts also require testing of each lot of tuna, and rejection of the entire lot if any extraneous material is found in even a small fraction of the cans of tuna tested. Even with this intense and rigorous testing, rejection rarely occurs.
 "If there really were a problem with 'extraneous matter' as Consumer Reports claims, the testing or inspections would have identified it," Burney said. In addition, all major tuna brands in the United States encourage consumers to write or call with concerns, questions or complaints, and complaints regarding any "extraneous matter" are extremely rare.
 -0- 1/22/92
 /CONTACT: David Burney of United States Tuna Foundation, 619-574-1573; or Valerie Winslow of Hill and Knowlton, 206-682-6944, for United States Tuna Foundation/ CO: United States Tuna Foundation; Consumer Reports ST: California IN: FOD SU:


JH-LM -- SE007 -- 2545 01/22/92 18:25 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 22, 1992
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