Safe Sushi App Helps Consumers Choose a Low Mercury California Roll

Sometimes you’ve got to love technology. For consumers there are numerous apps out there that enable you to shop better, more locally and to buy products that have the least impact on health as well as the environment.

Seafood Watch has an app that tells you what kind of seafood is most sustainable. This is fantastic when you are on the go and want some information quickly.

Now there is an app that tells you the amount of mercury in your spicy tuna roll. This app, launched by the Sierra Club, is currently part of a mercury awareness campaign. Mercury is highly toxic and the higher up the food chain you eat, the more the risk of contamination.

The app was launched last week in Android format, and the iPhone version will be available in mid-December. With this app, you can search the mercury content in fish, sorting from highest concentration to lowest. You can also search mercury content by the type of fish you want to try before you order. The app is targeted primarily at sushi lovers and it is called the Safe Sushi App.

This app is especially useful for women of childbearing age, because mercury exposure is a particular threat to them. According to the Sierra Club:

“As many as 1 in 6 American women have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk and over 300,000 babies are born each year at risk of mercury poisoning.”

Currently the Sierra Club, along with Greenpeace, is organizing a nationwide hair testing campaign to determine the levels of mercury in your bloodstream. Mercury is released into the atmosphere when coal is burned. When it rains, these particles of mercury find their way into oceans and other bodies of water. The mercury accumulates in small fish, which when eaten by big fish, is bio-magnified. When big fish are consumed, the mercury finds its way into humans. This is the reason why fish like tuna, salmon, sharks and other large predatory fish have the highest levels of mercury.

Last year, the Sierra Club released a report entitled, “Dirty Energy’s Assault on Our Health: Mercury.” The report identifies West Virginia as the state with the highest levels of mercury pollution. Exposure to mercury, especially for young children and babies, can prove fatal. It has been linked to many conditions like mental retardation, birth defects, cardiovascular issues, blindness, seizures, cerebral palsy, autism and even death.

This application is a boon for people who wish to know how much mercury they are consuming and figure out ways to limit that exposure. For now the application allows people to choose their sushi and eat it too, but unless stricter regulations are imposed on coal plants and older plants are phased out, mercury pollution will continue to exist.

Image Credit: © Sierra Club via Android Market

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also

2 responses

  1. This app is useless and dangerous. You cannot test the mercury level in your food by going online. If the Green Weenies and EnviroFascists actually gave a damn about mercury poisoning, they wouldn’t be mandating the use of MERCURY light bulbs in California. What hypocrisy! The only group that has hurt the environment more than the Sierra Club or the EPA is the Chinese government. Thanks, Akhila, for passing on the anti energy propaganda you got word for word from Media Matters. You flat Earth, no growth, green energy less, tools make me sick. Where do you get  the electricity for your crap box electric and hybrid cars? That’s right, power plants. Idiots.

    1. It’s gotten almost to the point where idiotic comments like this are going to start getting erased.  The amount of mercury in a CFL bulb is far less than the amount that would be released by burning coal for a standard bulb.  Furthermore, although CFL bulbs are not perfect, their mercury is recoverable whereas coal plant mercury goes straight into the air & water.

      You’re correct that this app gives, at best, an approximation, but it raises awareness of a serious problem.  What’s wrong with that?

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