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In California, stores are supposed to post these warnings to comply with Proposition 65.

These articles are from a few years ago (2003):

Some of California's largest grocery chains have started to post consumer warnings for mercury in fresh tuna, shark and swordfish in response to a lawsuit filed last month by Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

It is the first time under Proposition 65, the state's strict antitoxics law passed by voters in November 1986, that a warning against unsafe chemicals has applied to food products. The grocery chains said they have no plans to post warnings in stores in other states.

Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have begun posting the warnings at fish counters in California stores, and Albertson's said it will do so starting next week. The only other defendant, Kroger Co., the parent company of Cala Foods and Bell Market, could not be reached for comment.

According to a new survey by an environmental group [Sea Turtle Restoration Project], many supermarkets in California aren't properly warning customers about the risks of high levels of mercury in some fish.

The survey of 109 grocery stores, including stores owned by Albertson's, Kroger Co., Safeway, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, found that 41 percent had no warning signs at all in the fresh or frozen seafood areas, and 40 percent had signs that were difficult or impossible to read...

The state attorney general in January sued five major California grocery chains claiming that signs warning of the risks of mercury must be posted near where five specific varieties of fresh and frozen seafood are sold. The suit alleges the stores were failing to comply with Proposition 65, which requires warnings for toxic substances, because they weren't adequately alerting consumers of risks from varieties of fish containing high mercury.

The suit has not gone to trial, but four of the five supermarket chains have publicly said they will post warning signs.

The potent form of methylmercury in fish can cause nervous system damage in developing fetuses, infants and children as well as serious health problems in adults...

In its suit, the attorney general's office asked that the warning read: "Pregnant and nursing women, women who may become pregnant and young children should not eat the following fish: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. They should also limit their consumption of other fish, including fresh or frozen tuna.''

The suit seeks posting of visible signs in the area where the fish was sold, with a suggested size of 8 1/2 x 11 inches, the state said. The state suggested that the grocery chains use some educational material on the signs, including Web sites of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.

Sue Fiering, the deputy attorney general in charge of the case, said an interim warning is required.

"If they post the warning, they are in compliance with Prop. 65. If they don't post any warning, they are out of compliance,'' Fiering said. "If they post a different warning (than the one suggested by the state), we would have to look at it to see if it were 'clear and reasonable' under Prop. 65.''

Violations of Prop. 65 carry a fine of up to $2,500 per violation per day.


Also in 2003: "California's attorney general filed lawsuits April 10 against at least 18 restaurant companies--including such major operators as Brinker International, Darden Restaurants, Landry's Restaurants and Outback Steakhouse--for failing to post Proposition 65 warning notices despite their sales of swordfish, tuna and shark that contain allegedly dangerous levels of mercury.

Anyway, I think the law suits under Prop. 65 are where this sign originated, but apparently Trader Jo's has expanded this to other states, although I don't know whether other states have these kinds of requirements.

Then the call went out to nationalize these warnings


I too love TJ's, way to go TJ's!

TJ's is a great store! We have one in our area that we use every so often. It's one of our three stops for healthier foods.

Trader Joes - Wayne, PA (opening soon in North Wales, PA, much closer!)

Whole Foods - North Wales, PA

Gary's World of Wellness - Eagleville, PA

TJ's and GWOW are of similar caliber. They both look out for their customers. Whole Foods, wellll, they're good but not so much.

As for the mercury reminder, it's high time we had a law. The surgeon general has a warning on every pack of cigarettes. Well it takes a hell of a long time to get lung cancer, and the threat is pretty obvious. Mercury poisoning is a much more immediate threat, and unfortunately, less conspicuous. We should have a sign like this near every seafood counter. It should also be posted near frozen fish. It should be a federal law, and it's long overdue.

I can't believe the "fish lobby" is that powerful.

I like your follow up comment Kim. The argument that selenium will offset the mercury is like putting Ipecac in anti-freeze. It makes it perfectly fine to ingest because you wouldn't be able to keep it down anyway. That way kids can enjoy the sweet taste. Huh?

F.D.A. = Fifty Dollar Approvals

Barbara Fischkin

Saw that sign up in the Trader Joe's in Merrick, New York too!


I couldn't resist snapping the photo....


The problem with the FDA and fish is that this warning may be on it's way out as well. The latest "research" indicates that mercury laden fish is just fine for preggers and toddlers because the selenium in the fish protects them from the mercury which is never absorbed or made, uh, yeah, riiiiight.

K Fuller Yuba City

The sign is very responsible. You should ask them to also print *Why* the FDA advises that it not be eaten.


The reason:

Most doctors aren't concerned.

DOCTORS WONT FACE LIABILITY when injecting mercury into infants and children thanks to the Vaccine Compensation Act.


Heck, they'll shoot it into your baby BEFORE it pops out now. Flu shots are now recommended for all pregnant women and because Flumist is a live virus pregnant women cannot receive it. So unless a pregnant woman knows to ask, she will get a mercury-laden flu shot with the full dose.

I see this all the time over at Babycenter on the empty-headed "due date club" message boards. Some pregnant lady will state that she found out that there is mercury in the flu shot and is worried about it harming her developing baby and of course she poses the "what is everyone else doing" question to her fellow due date mommies. And then the other mommies will do the whole "well my OB says it is safe and the flu can kill you, so I'm getting it, blah, blah, blah" crap, or something along those lines. I saw one mom post "Please get the flu shot! My OB says the flu is a million times more dangerous to pregnant women than the mercury in the shot!" I also saw another mom say one time "My OB says if you get the flu while pregnant you'll go into respiratory failure and DIE!"

Which irriates the crap out of me because guess what? I've HAD the flu while pregnant before. I got the flu when I was 15 weeks along with my last child. It was one of the crappiest weeks of my life, mainly because my kids were sick and got it also and I had to take care of them when I just wanted to lay around and be miserable, but I never came anywhere CLOSE to dying.

I still don't regret not getting the flu shot.


They don't carry food from China too.
Lots of Gluten and Casein free food too.
Doubt you will ever see a "get your flu shot"
in that establishment.


Thanks for posting the photo, Kim. And great comment, Diane, about the bizarre public health dichotomy. Different standards, depending on who's got the most cash. Kind of like Kiddie Cap & Trade.


Whole Foods gives a shit, too. They have a similar sign by the sushi.

However, the real issue still remains.....Docs will actually tell you not to eat fish during pregnancy because of the mercury content, but then will shoot it into your baby as soon as it pops out. Genius.

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