Mind and Body

Lawsuit: Bumble Bee Tuna Gave Man Mercury Poisoning



It's a wonder he didn't get sick of the taste first.

A New York man, who says he ate 10 cans of tuna a week for nearly two years, is suing Bumble Bee Foods for allegedly giving him mercury poisoning.

Lee Porrazzo of White Plains told The New York Post he and his roommate and workout partner, Roland Muccini, would make regular runs to the local Stop & Shop to load up on cans of tuna fish thinking they were eating healthy.

"There was tuna in my diet every day, just about," Porrazzo said. "I thought it was the cleanest source of protein."

But the 48-year-old BMW salesman said he was soon plagued by a mystery malady that gave him chest pains and sent him to the hospital "believing he was having a heart attack," according to his White Plains federal court suit.

He's blaming it on the canned tuna and wants unspecified damages for breach of warranty and negligence from the fish cannery. But he's also suing the supermarket chain - for putting the tuna on sale.

Porrazzo says he started scarfing the seafood in January 2006 because Bumble Bee commercials called it "heart healthy" and the brand was "usually on sale" for $1 a can.

No one could figure out what was ailing Porrazzo until his doctor ordered a "heavy metals" blood test in October 2008 that revealed a "dangerously high" mercury level of 23 micrograms per liter, more than twice the normal amount, his suit says.

"One day I got a call from the [state] Health Department," he said. "They said, 'Normally we don't contact people, but your levels are so high we had to contact you.' I was taken aback and I was scared."

The Health Department staffer also told him to stop eating tuna.

Experts warn not to eat more than 5 ounces of tuna a week to avoid high mercury levels.

Click here to read more from The New York Post.