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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Do you test your products?

As described below, we purity-test all of our supplemental fish oils and certain seafood products.

Frozen seafood
According to virtually all academic researchers and public health authorities, the frozen Pacific salmon and other Pacific fish species we sell are naturally low in mercury and man-made contaminants. Accordingly, we do not routinely test them.

Likewise, virtually all scientists and public health authorities consider the shellfish species we sell — including prawns, shrimp, crab, mollusks, lobster, calamari, and scallops — inherently low in contaminants, so we do not routinely test them. 

You can learn more about the inherent safety of our frozen seafood on our Purity Story page — especially in the sections titled "Vital Choice seafood is very low in mercury" and "Vital Choice seafood is very low in pollutants".

Following the Fukushima nuclear plant accident in March of 2011, we tested our potentially affected Pacific fish —  sockeye salmon, king salmon, albacore tuna, and halibut — for radiation six times, with the last tests results reported in April of 2016. Those tests confirmed that our fish was very safe in relation to standards set by the FDA and other public health authorities. See "Radiation testing" below for more information. 

Fish oils
Every batch of each of our fish oils is independently tested for mercury and other metals as well as for oxidation byproducts and man-made contaminants such as PCBs. We will never sell supplements that exceed industry, international, or U.S. standards.

Canned seafood
Despite their inherent purity, we periodically test our canned tuna and salmon for mercury, lead, arsenic, and other natural contaminants. None of our canned fish has ever exceeded official U.S. safety standards. Test results are available upon request.

We do not test our canned sardines, mackerel, anchovies, or shellfish for mercury or other heavy metals, because these species typically contain very low levels of those naturally occurring contaminants.

Seafood typically comes in cans lined with resins that contain BPA or related compounds. You can learn about the status of Vital Choice seafood cans in the FAQ titled "What are your fish cans lined with? (about PET and BPA)". 

Note: The arsenic that occurs in most seafood is no cause for concern, thanks to the critical distinction between organic arsenic (proven safe at the levels in seafood) and inorganic arsenic (not safe). As the CDC says: "Studies have not found organic arsenic in seafood to be toxic to humans."

Land-based foods
We do not test our land-based food products for natural or man-made contaminants, because there is no evidence that FDA-approved products such as chicken, beef, pork, berries, or cooking oils contain significant levels of such contaminants.

Radiation testing of seafood
Since the March, 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan, we've commissioned six rounds of radiation tests on samples of Vital Choice seafood.

Those tests have either found either no detectable Fukushima-related radiation, or the very low, clearly safe levels that occur naturally in the Pacific fish species we sell.

We stopped testing our seafood for radiation in April 2016, after publishing the results of the last round of tests. That decision was based on three factors:

  1. Our tests repeatedly produced reassuring results.
  2. Independent tests of Pacific seafood have found no problems.
  3. Independent research estimates that levels of Fukushima-related radiation in Pacific waters peaked in 2016, and will decline steadily in future years.

Click here for links to the reassuring results of all six rounds of tests, and for independent information about the clear safety of Pacific seafood since the accident.

The first tests took place in March of 2012, and included all the Pacific fish and shellfish we offered at the time.

After that first round, we commissioned annual radiation tests on the fish species that — hypothetically — run a higher risk of contamination: sockeye salmon, king salmon, albacore tuna, and halibut.

That hypothetically higher risk relates to these species' migration patterns, which can extend westward through the mid-Pacific Ocean.

But our test results, and those of government and university labs, have not found any actual problems.