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It seems like Bumble Bee Tuna has gone down in quality

When I was a kid until my early 20s, I ate canned tuna fish frequently, whether it was Starkist, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, Progresso, etc. But I really haven't eaten canned tuna very often since then. A few days ago, I picked up a couple of cans of Bumble Bee tuna -- one can of solid white albacore in water and one can of prime filet solid albacore white in water. The prime filet was over a dollar more than the regular solid white. I paid over $3 for the prime filet and over $2 for the solid white albacore.

When I opened up the the solid white albacore, it kind of looked like the chunk light (you know, the cheaper variety). There might have been a couple of chunks, but it was mostly shredded and mushy. Then I opened up the prime filet, thinking it would be more like the expensive jarred Italian ones. But I was surprised to see that the prime filet was exactly how I remembered the regular solid white albacore was years ago. So it seems that quality has gone down over the years where the old solid white albacore is on par with the prime filet and the new solid white albacore is more similar to the old chunk light. I'm wondering what the new chunk light is like now.

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  1. Somewhere along the line, years ago, I gleaned that Bumble Bee was not considered a good-quality tuna, which kind of fit in with the old Star Kist commercials. Remember? "Sorry, Charlie, not all tunas are good enough to be Star Kist" or something like that. Also, I remember buying, not too many years ago, very cheap cans of Bumble Bee, which I picked up for the occasions my dog was feeling poorly. And it looked very chopped up to me. (The dog ate it, however.)

    Just some anecdotal evidence to confirm your findings. But was Bumble Bee ever considered good?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Angela Roberta

      I don't think Bumble Bee was ever considered a premium or decent tuna. But I was a bit surprised to see that quality has deteriorated even further.

      1. re: Angela Roberta

        Back in the 80's, Cook's Illustrated rated water packed Bumble Bee tops over other leading supermarket brands. Until recently, it was the canned tuna I used for those kinds of things that canned tuna are useful for.

        These days however, I've found that I don't like BB, especially the Prime Filet. It seems very dry to me.

      2. I had a similar reaction as you. I don't consume canned tuna often anymore, but I recently bought the Bumble Bee solid white in water, which is the tuna that I grew up with. I was surprised that it seemed much more like chunk light, both in texture and color. That's fine, but I won't buy it again, since I can get the equivalent by another brand for cheaper.

        When it happened, I thought that perhaps I wasn't remembering the tuna of my youth correctly. Glad to see you had a similar impression.

        1. I purchase regular BB solid in H2O at Costco for about $1. per can. I've compared it to Chicken of the Sea, 3 diamonds and Starkist over the years and find it to be better than all of those. I like imported Italian in olive oil for an occasional upgrade.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cstr

            If you shop at Costco a better tuna is their brand, Kirkland, the best canned chicken too.

            In June of 2010 Bumblebee Tuna solid white in water is watery mush. There is nothing solid about the three cans I opened today. If I bought a can of Cosco's Kirkland (which I will from now on) I would have to put it in a food proscessor for a few minutes and then add a fouth of a cup of water for it to look like BB Solid White Tuna. This is faulse advertising. And they are getting away with it. I will say Star Kist and Chicken on the Sea are a far better purchase than BB.

          2. Hi Miss Needle,

            Like you, I have had a long time of not eating canned tuna since my childhood until recently. I never like tuna in water so I only buy tuna in olive oil. What I found from my recent purchases is that the tuna that is of Wild Yellowfin tasted a lot better than the other kinds. Of course the jarred Italian imports are great stuff, but they are also expensive (which makes me want to buy the real yellowfin and not the canned ones ;P)
            I found some pretty good ones at TJ, and very cheap (only $2!)

            1. I think every brand of canned tuna has been "squeezed" to a lower quality because of price pressures.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wayne keyser

                And the cans have been "squeezed" too. Didn't those little cans used to contain 7 ozs.? Now its 5 oz. - and they're mostly water. I remember being able to make 2.5 tuna salad sandwiches with one can since my brother and I would fight over the 1/2 sandwich after we each had our own. Now you can barely make one sandwich out of a can of tuna.

              2. Wow, are you ever right! Just opened a can of white albacore/water to make tuna salad (dill or sweet relish?) for sandwiches -- so pink (def non-white), so shredded, and such a dainty amount (5 oz instead of 6), so maybe one sandwich. Taste test is tomorrow.

                1. Not to gross anyone out, as if I care, but I eat a can of Starkist chunk light in water everyday for my mid-morning snack. A little high in sodium, but 32% daily protein, one gram of fat, plus omega 3 all in a 3.3 ounce can. I wash it down with a small carton of orange juice. It blows the minds of my co-workers who are slamming down their McDonald's and coke.

                  33 Replies
                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    I also buy BB tuna at Costco, and have always been happpy with it. I grew up on BB but it has to be the solid in water and always felt it was the premium tuna, I can't even eat starkist. Oh and not to start another thread but you have to use hellmans when making tuna salad, nothing else except maybe adding some pretzel sticks. for crunch.

                    1. re: jscott65

                      Kirkland tuna at Costco is our favorite. It's quality has been better than the "regular" brands for several years now. And cheaper.

                        1. re: Oneiron

                          i agree 100% kirkland is THE BOMB!!!!! Ten times better than anything else ive ever had!!

                          1. re: Oneiron

                            I agree completely. It's cheaper because there is so much SOLID Tuna in the can.

                            1. re: Oneiron

                              Since I no longer belong to CostCo but hus bought a Sams club membership wonder if it's the same or at least close

                              1. re: Oneiron

                                glad I saw this reminder cause I need to go back for a multi pack of the stuff. hope it's still good as it's been a while since I bought the Costco brand

                              2. re: jscott65

                                It used to be only Hellman's mayo for me, too, until they changed their glass containers to plastic. They make 1 glass container of mayo at 8 ounces; but it costs the same as 2-3x the mayo "bottled" in plastic. Since I've been on the search for a good-tasting mayo packaged in glass that doesn't break the bank.

                                Re: the tuna. Growing up, I found Bumble Bee (in oil) to be the best. Tuna packaged in water does not have the flavor I like. Now I'll only still buy tuna in oil. I've not yet paid for more premium tunas.

                              3. re: James Cristinian

                                Personally, I'd be wary of eating so much tuna. It has a lot of mercury in it. It's best these days to vary your diet when it comes to fish.

                                1. re: visciole

                                  FWIW, chunk light has less mercury than albacore.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    Yes, I know, but I still think a can every day puts you over the EPA limit, which many people think is set too high anyway.

                                    1. re: visciole

                                      gad, when I was pregnant all 3 times, everyday I ate a tuna sandwich and tons of raw tomatoes. now that may explain why all 3 of the kids love tuna but really has it gotten that bad for you in these few years? it used to be a health food item, shhhhheeeeeeeeeeesh, I'm mad................. :(

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        I don't think it has changed, there has just been more publicity about it. It's surprising how long it takes for info like this to get around. If your kids are still small they shouldn't eat too much tuna, according to many sources.

                                        1. re: visciole

                                          We have switched to sardines. Small herring (which are the sardines) are much lower on the food chain than tuna and are young fish. Both contribute to low mercury levels. Plus there is the added benefit of eating the bones which add calcium to the diet. We had sardines on toast w/ poached egg and 1/2 grapefruit for brekkie this a m.

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            Sardines are not small herring....same family different species.....

                                            1. re: Pollo

                                              Near Sardinia they are sardines. Here in Maine, we have a sardine cannery 10 mi from where I am sitting, and the sardines here are small herring. Sardine is both a specific fish and a generic term for several species of small fish.

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                Not sure what they do in Maine or if it is legal to sell/can imature/small herring and call it sardine? In the rest of the world sardine is a sardine and herring is a herring....there is a difference...

                                                1. re: Pollo

                                                  Sorry, but you are incorrect. I have lived in Stavanger Norway, home of the Sardine Canning Museum, and King Oscar's are herring as well. To repeat, the only true Sardine is caught near Sardinia in Med. Sea. In europe, pilchards are also called sardines. Sardine has beome a generic term for several species of small fish.
                                                  Any one of several small species of herring which are commonly preserved in olive oil or in tins for food, especially the pilchard, or European ...


                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    I started reading into this and there is a lot of info. on naming regulations from EU, WTO, Codex, etc. Long story short I guess you are partly right and I am partly wrong....or vice versa. Here is a link to more recent ruling by EU: http://docsonline.wto.org/GEN_viewerw...

                                                    1. re: Pollo

                                                      The original point is herring are used as and called sardines.

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        Yes, some countries allow small herring to be labelled as sardines but they are not (like you stated) true sardines.

                                                        1. re: Pollo

                                                          I never said "true sardines". Stick to Pollo lady.

                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                            You also did not say "true herring"....but anyway with logic like that who could argue?

                                                            1. re: Pollo

                                                              Now you're learning. Just enjoy your sardines/herring.

                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                They are all "Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes" Ah... but they are not lemmings.. lemmings are mammals ....

                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      AH, that helps explain why, a few decades ago, the attempt to popularize pilchards as a substitute for tuna didn't catch on. Do you remember that? Cans the same size and shape of what was then the typical tuna can appeared on supermarket shelves alongside the tuna. I can't recall if the reason was the price of tuna, availability, and/or health concerns. I do remember that I'd never heard of pilchards before (or since), and found them a lot fishier tasting than tuna, although they were purported to taste the same.

                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                        The last sardine cannery in the US closed last Fri. at Bumble Bee's at Prospect Harbor Me. They magically turned live herring into canned sardines!

                                                    3. re: Pollo

                                                      Pollo, now I wonder if indeed you have ever eaten a real sardine? Perhaps what you have thought were sardines were really herring!

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        I have eaten fresh Sardines (grilled/BBQ) in the Bay Area or at least what was called a sardine. I guess to be sure I will have to take a trip to Sardinia so sample the real stuff.

                                                        By the way, I almost visited the cannery in Prospect Harbour few years back....too bad it closed. Right now I only know of this small cannery on Vancouver Island that does (co-packs) some sardines for the local (Vancouver) market...bought few cans but have not tried them.

                                            2. re: iL Divo

                                              Yes, it really is that high in mercury. Several verified cases of children who have had serious mercury poisoning from a single tuna fish sandwich daily, at lunch. These are children had noticeable declines in IQ, thought and reasoning, mental retardation. Most of them did not suffer permanant damage when their diet was changed.

                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                You may find this link interesting as the study you are referring to is seriously flawed: http://www.mercuryfacts.org/

                                                1. re: apops

                                                  Seriously? Mercuryfacts.org is funded by a food and restaurant groups. It's just a website, and is no more believable than a blog on extraterrestrials set up by my neighbor Bob. The facts on mercury are pretty clear. I'll take my science from the journals, not from a blog. And if you're referring to the Lancet study on maternal seafood consumption and child developmental outcomes, I'd like to know what the "serious flaws" are.

                                      2. re: James Cristinian

                                        James - you might want to get your mercury load tested. Canned tuna is ridiculously high in mercury. Mercury isn't metabolized by the body, so it continues to accumulate. There is no safe limit for mercury in humans - meaning, any amount of mercury is considered bad. I'm no health freak, but mercury scares the bejeesus out of me.

                                      3. I'm not buying any more Bumble Bee tuna. Yesterday I opened a can labeled "Chunk White Albacore in water." It wasn't 'chunk', it was mush, a sort of grey-tan mush. Then I read the ingredients, which include tuna, water, vegetable broth, pyrophosphate, and soy. I like soy. I eat a lot in my diet. But I don't want it snuck into the tuna. When I buy tuna I want only tuna. I have a friend at the coast who buys tuna fresh and puts it up, in glass jars. I think I'll have to learn the process. More and more it seems you can trust the food processors less and less.

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: billyboy9

                                          Is it snuck in if it's on the label?

                                          1. re: ccbweb

                                            Yes it's "snuck" in because they know most people don't read the ingredients on the label.
                                            BTW Hello Billyboy9 :-)

                                          2. re: billyboy9

                                            The idea that they'd sneak soy into the can to cut costs seems pretty outrageous to me, so I had a look at the tuna in the pantry... Cheap Aldi house brand white albacore in cans, and Starkist chunk light and albacore in the foilpacks. Ingredients on ALL of them are the same as yours - tuna, water, veg. broth, pyrophosphate...

                                            After the ingredients list, the Starkist packs say "CONTAINS: TUNA, SOY" (I assume that's an allergy listing type of thing). The Aldi tuna cans say "veg. broth (contains soy)". Not sure about Bumble Bee, but it looks like in these the soy is the basis for the veg. broth, and not being thrown in as a "cut" to stretch the tuna... If that is the case though, then that's pretty sneaky.... I mean, why should you need to read the ingredient list on a can of tuna? Additives like HFCS, MSG, and all kinds of other crap aren't sneaky and wouldn't surprise me, but sneaking soy in for tuna would be totally wrong! That would be like Land-o-Lakes selling butter and throwing in a little margarine.

                                            1. re: deibu

                                              Soy (veg, broth) is added tio get better "drain weights" in the products...which means more water is retained by the mushy tuna and water is cheaper compared to tuna....you can thank your elected representatives for allowing the tuna packers to sell you more water...

                                            2. re: billyboy9

                                              The soy is listed as a part of the allergen information. According to their website, the vegetable broth has some soy in it. They've not replaced tuna with soy protein.

                                              It's all right there on the label to be read. You don't have to trust, you can read.

                                              1. re: billyboy9

                                                The most expensive brands are all still mush.

                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  Not at all - Pastene is consistently delicious. But they don't even offer a "packed in water" abomination, it's pure Italian olive oil or nothing!

                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                    Where's that found Bob?

                                                    I went into Safeway on 4th in Vancouver and by feel and shaking only the Safeway brand sounded best. They had a $3.99 5 oz can of something I'd never seen that didn't sound any tighter than the store brand. The 5 oz Safeway brand was 2/$5.00. I didn't buy it cause I have no opener but can buy it when I bring my opener on the 17th, I'll check out the texture of it then and can only hope I'm not disappointed

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      Most major supermarkets here (Boston) carry it, but I'm not sure how widely it"s distributed outside New England. In my local market it's in the Italian imports aisle, not with all the rest of the tuna, and sells for about $3 for a 5 oz can.

                                                      I've heard from other posters that Progresso also sells a good Italian tuna in oil - I haven't seen it myself but it may be comparable.

                                              2. Yep...not buying it anymore...it SEEMS to me anyway that when Bumble Bee went from 6 1/2 ounce can down to 5 ounce can, the quality also went down. Forget it...Whole Foods store brand 365 still packs 6 ounces of what appears to be solid white tuna.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: Val

                                                  I recently picked up a 10 pack at Costco, 6 oz. cans., same size as always. If you really want superior tuna try Italian TONNO packed in Olive Oil, I like the glass jars the best.

                                                  1. re: cstr

                                                    Thanks, cstr...I might try it! Packed in water is usually fine with me and I do seek out lower- or no-sodium everything these days, but will have to look into the Italian style. I think I've bought it before but I used in the great CHOW recipe for tuna casserole...I've never used it for making tuna salad.

                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                      TONNO is not Italian..read the labes...it's packed by Chicken of the Sea.....

                                                      1. re: Pollo

                                                        although it's not solid tuna, I love sardinar tuna.... It's packed in a flavorful oil with carrots and other veg, and It's def solid white tuna..... so I tastes great, is great quality, and has veg added in for way cheaper...

                                                  2. I have to agree about this, but it also seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon. The first time I encountered the more "shreaded" tuna, I thought that maybe it had been hanging around the pantry too long. We buy the large cans at Costco, and I was disappointed that the next batch was equally watery and undistinguished. I always felt that Bumble Bee was the premium brand, but I may have to try Kirkland the next time I am at Costco.

                                                    1. Domnestic Tuna brands have ceklarly downgraded the tuna they put in the cans

                                                      I only use tuna form Italian importers or small Canadian hand packed companies

                                                      NOW that is the kind the canned tuna I remember when I was a kid - -

                                                      firm - and clean tasting!!!

                                                      BB and others have altered their "grades" and it is not the same

                                                      1. I think they all have. Generally, I've always used Star-Kist, but on occasion, have picked up a can of Chicken of the Sea. Several years ago, on advice from a friend, I bought a can of Bumble Bee. I found that it actually tasted better than the higher priced varieties, but unfortunately, I seem to remember there was only about a tablespoon of actual tuna in the can - the rest being water.

                                                        Now, since SK has begun to do the vacuum packaging, their canned tuna is primarily water as well. If this isn't bad enough, the "product" inside tastes nothing like tuna. Same for CotS. Weird. As for the packaged stuff - I don't care for it even a little bit. The "tuna chunks" are hard - a very strange consistency for fish. So unfortunately, as much as I enjoy a good tuna sandwich, I've pretty much quit buying it - a least in the pkgs/cans.

                                                        Agreeing with someone else on this thread, I've heard that there are somewhat reasonably priced cans of yellowfin tuna (aka ahi) that are very good, but I haven't seen them on the shelves of my usual Albertson's haunt.

                                                        1. The last time I bought a can of BB tuna, I bought the package of 8 cans from Sam's Club for a tuna salad sandwich platter I was making. I was so disgusted when I opened them and found a can of squishy, flakes and almost no solid chunks anywhere. To add insult to that, I found several hard SCALES in the tuna, I just threw them away and bought a nice tuna steak, broiled it, cooled it down and made it that way. It was much better. I will never buy another can of tuna again. Finding several scales was it for me.

                                                          1. I hope that the soy is a seasoning for the vegetable broth and not an extender for the tuna. There is also the possibility of soybean oil. I'm not happy about the pyrophosphate (I believe a pH regulating preservative) which, among other things, could cause water retention in the flesh.

                                                            There's an interesting NY Times article at:


                                                            The article is from 1997, and quality has dropped even further since then.

                                                            I'm in Canada and Clover Leaf, our major mainstream "quality" brand, is exactly as you describe. The "solid white" is not solid at all, though the manufacturer claims otherwise, and it is swimming in liquid (vegetable broth & soybean oil, which tastes better than plain water). Much of it is flaking in the can. My current supply from this flag waving "Canadian company" is canned in Thailand. They claim a "drained" weight of 120g in a 170g can, but this doesn't account for liquid trapped within the flesh. It recently cost $1.88 on sale.

                                                            We have one premium brand, Raincoast Trading, that has created a great corporate image. Their albacore is line caught 50 miles off the Pacific coast, dolphin friendly and mercury free. It is cooked only once and contains no added water or oil - just sea salt. The 150g cans cost around $5.00, depending on the store, which is less expensive than it seems due to less waste, but hardly a cheap meal. Everything is right save one - the eating quality isn't all that good.

                                                            When I'm making something where canned tuna is the star, I use an Italian brand in a jar, white ventresca processed with olive oil. I don't recall the brand, as only one is ever available (and it isn't available all the time). Enough to serve two costs about $14.00.

                                                            I've heard great things about bonito del norte packed by Ortiz and Goya, but neither is available in Canada.

                                                            As an aside, Starkist has interesting associations for many Canadians over forty. In a political scandal dubbed "Tunagate", Starkist was somehow able to dump their rejected product into the Canadian market. Their tuna, while not overtly unsafe to eat, was decomposing in the cans. (How they got away with this leads to interesting speculations not suitable for discussion on this board, but, see, we had this Prime Minister guy and ....) Starkist disappeared from the Canadian market shortly after, never to return.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: embee

                                                              We have a couple of premium canners in the US making a similar product, line caught, young fish with no mercury, canned once, no water or oil and just sea salt, firm tuna. Its expensive, and I don't love the flavor compared to olive oil packed tuna, but I use it for our tuna needs. I always wonder if maybe olive oil is the most important ingredient.

                                                              I've always thought water packed was gross. Even as a kid my mom bought oil packed.

                                                            2. I buy and love the Kirkland Brand Solid White Tuna from Costco. It's packed in water and not broth. and in my experience has always been solid., not shredded. Some brands say packed in water but are actually packed in broth. And yes, I have noticed that other brands are shredded, wet mess.

                                                              1. I've noticed this too...started noticing it actually around 10 years or so ago. I remember when solid white tuna was just that...a more or less solid cross section kind of filet packed with just enough water or oil for processing. Now its loose, flaky, and waterlogged...BumbleBee, StarKist...all of them, in the new shrunken 5oz cans just to add insult to injury.

                                                                I finally started to just buy the store brand of tuna from whatever store I happened to be in...here, it's Stob N SHop, ShopRite, A&P, etc. And much to my surprise, the store brand has proven to be superior in every way 90% of the time...nice solid filet and not totally soaked...and in a 6oz can to boot. I never buy the "name" brands anymore. Not worth it.

                                                                1. I just bought some Costco tuna this week and it was great -- the tuna I remember. I recommend it!

                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    I'll second that! I opened Bumble Bee earlier this week and promptly threw it out as it looked horrid. It was mushy and it didn't look like water, instead it was more like a gravy. Yesterday bought the Kirkland brand at Costco and it was perfect, plus I got more out of the can. Won't go back to BB ever again.

                                                                    1. re: grouper

                                                                      I came to the same conclusion. I was a loyal BB customer and didn't think that there could be better. I always bought them at Costco since they always carried them. One day I went to my local supermarket and saw that they were selling BB solid white Albacore in a pink can. Something didn't look right, turned out it was smaller than what I was used to buying, 5oz. Did some Googling and saw that many people were unhappy with BB. They noticed what I have been noticing of late that BB solid while was anything than solid, but was some kind of mush. I just bought Kirkland tuna - what a difference! A nice solid cunk of tuna in the can, the way I remembered what tuna used to be like.

                                                                      Goodby Bumble Bee!

                                                                      1. re: MartyB

                                                                        Just had a thought mayebwe should all TWITTER the fish mush that is now in a BB can - I hear big companies have services that monitor twitter for comments on their products !

                                                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                            Do you have Whole Foods? Their 365 brand of solid white is really great, in my opinion...okay, $1.49 per can...but it's still 6 ounces!!!

                                                                            1. re: Val

                                                                              No I don't.... The closest one is over over 30 miles from me.

                                                                            2. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                              Costco is in Nashua (Kirkland is their house brand).

                                                                          2. re: grouper

                                                                            Just so you know, Kirkland uses Bumble Bee tuna. The tuna is processed and packaged at the Santa Fe Springs Bumble Bee plant. So, techically, you never stopped buying Bumble Bee...

                                                                              1. re: apops

                                                                                If Kirkland is being made by BB, maybe they are using their premium tuna/production for the Kirkland brand! It is definitely not the same as BB!

                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                  That's probably the case...as may be the case with certain other store brands. As I mentioned earlier, in my experience the solid whit tuna sold under the Shop-Rite brand label has by and large been and remains consistently better than either Bumble Bee, Star Kist, and Chicken Of The Sea. Until a month or two ago, they were even still sold in 6 oz cans ...but everyone seems to be switching to the 5 oz cans.

                                                                                  1. re: The Professor

                                                                                    Well, doesn't Shop Rite have "Cans, cans, lots of things in cans"? :-)

                                                                                2. re: apops

                                                                                  I don't have a lot of business acumen, but something about the contractural link between Costco and Bumble Bee seems a bit fishy to me. The Bumble Bee brand equity is generations old. It's "worth" far more than the Kirkland brand is to the minds of the consumer. Why then does Bumble Bee pack its best product for a store brand and pack its "mush" for its own brand? Seems like brand suicide. Especially since Bumble Bee pays for shelf exposure at grocery stores in N. America.

                                                                                  Does not make any sense to me.

                                                                            1. Oh gawd! I've got three cans of Bumble Bee Fancy Whole Baby Clams I was planning to use in a white sauce with pasta tomorrow. This was going to be a "knock out" meal. Wonder what I'll get when I open the cans?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                  I'm glad I didn't have a mouthful of coffee or soda when I read your response, gryphonskeeper!

                                                                              1. Several years ago I noticed that the chunk tuna from the major brands looked shredded to me. I didn't like the flavor or the look. Like others in this thread I used Bumble Bee for years and I thought it was very good quality, but quit using albacore for tuna salad because I read it had more mercury.

                                                                                At any rate, I started buying Tongol Tuna. It is packed by Crown Prince, is wild caught, and the ingredients are listed as Tongol Tuna, spring water, sea salt. It tastes good to me.

                                                                                I think Tongol tuna is the species name(?). I found it initially in the health food aisle of my food market. It makes fine tuna salad as far as I'm concerned. Certainly better than what I was using.

                                                                                1. I agree that BB hasn't tasted like firm, white, tuna in years and shrinking the can to 5 oz was the end for me. I like Progresso but will also try other brands and try to find firm, white, tuna, like what BB used to taste like.

                                                                                  1. I fired off a comment to Bumble Bee along with a link to this post. Don't know if I will get a response but at least I got this off my chest.


                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MartyB

                                                                                      Well, I got a letter from Bumble Bee explaining their position about some of the reasons why there are variations in color and texture of raw fish. Included were 3 coupons for free 5oz cans of tuna and two 25 cents off coupons as well.

                                                                                      I am no fool and will use the three coupons for free 5oz tunas. Out of curiousity does Bumble Bee's prime filet solid albacore white come in 5 oz cans :)

                                                                                      1. re: MartyB

                                                                                        Well, I threw out the coupons since in small print it said that it excludes the prime filet solid albacore white. Unfortunately I still have a stock of their solid albacore to finish and really don't want to increase my stock, even for free.

                                                                                    2. I OPENED A CAN OF BUMBLE BEE MUSHY BEIGE ALBACORE TUNA IN WATER WITH A BONE INCLUDED. It was suppose to be BB Chunk White Albacore Tuna in Water without bones. I will never buy Bumble Bee Tuna again.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dmmvdc

                                                                                        I weighed in above about this back in January, but I have to do it again. I had BB again today - my sister gave me an individual serving can. When I opened it up, there were huge globs of mushy, semi-gelatinous sludge on top. The taste was okay, but there was a high ick factor at first.

                                                                                        1. re: dmmvdc

                                                                                          I found a bone in a can of Bumble Bee a few years ago, and wrote them a letter enclosing the bone. I mean, imagine if a child was eating it. I got some cents off coupons in response. I wasn't too happy.

                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                            I don't think it's reasonable to expect that a bone won't show up in a can of tuna once in a while, just like how seeds occasionally show up in dried fruit. If anything, it's a reminder that you're eating something pretty natural. And I think a child is more likely to get killed sitting in a car than eating a can of tuna that has a bone in it.

                                                                                        2. I decided not to respond to any one post because the issue's seem to be all across the board and dealing with specific brands.

                                                                                          I grew up on whatever brand of Tuna was cheapest for my parent's to buy. It wasn't until I left home at age 18 that I even had to think about brands (didn't matter anyway because cost was the factor). Albacore was not even available then.

                                                                                          Funny thing is that I don't like fish at all, the milder the better, cod in batter and deep fried? I'm there if I can drown it in tartar sauce! BUT, I grew up eating smoked fish (trips to the U.P. of MI) and I still love a small dose of that. That and canned tuna are IMHO (and midwest tastebuds!) pretty damn strong fish flavors. I grew up from sprouthood on "chunk light in water" tuna, which is "very" fishy tasting and yet I don't mind it because it is familiar.

                                                                                          About 5 years ago my Dad, after his heart attack, switched over to Albacore for health reasons. We did too, When we had a financial tight spot a bit over a year ago, I bought a can of "Chunk light in water" and realized why my tuna-salad had been lacking in flavor for so damn long! As a die-hard hater of fish, albacore is tasteless!!! Give me the strong-ass tuna I grew up with!

                                                                                          Now to my real complaint, back in the day, when I bought a 6 oz. can of tuna (in water), it was mostly tuna. Now, it seems like the fish is so minced and there is so much water that you are lucky to end up with 3 oz. of fish after draining the can (with a whole lot of that "minced" fish going along with the water). I, not so long ago, used to get 3 tuna salad sandwiches out of one can of tuna. I guess that time is no more. :(

                                                                                          I will still stick with my flavorful chunk light in water, but I will have to plan on two cans if I want lunch and a left-over sandwich!


                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Alicat24

                                                                                            I totally agree with you about Albacore. I better not find out that the same Chowhounds who bemoan the popularity of boneless, skinless chicken breasts are also fans of canned "solid white packing product", because it's even more flavorless than the former.

                                                                                            My current preferred everyday tuna is the yellowfin in oil from Trader Joe's. With a nice amount of fishy flavor and a price of $1.99 a can, it's a good compromise between the crummy "big 3" product and the expensive Spanish stuff.

                                                                                            I wish canned, boneless mackerel was widely available. I bet that would make a really flavorful fish salad.

                                                                                            1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                              How many ozs are in Trader Joe's canned tuna?

                                                                                              1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                "solid white packing product"

                                                                                                Oh my! That had me laughing, I'll have to remember that one! Unfortunately we are deprived of a TJ or WF ANYWHERE around our area. I'm pretty much stuck with the "big 3" or store brands. *sigh*

                                                                                                1. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                  Haven't tried the TJ's but I buy Pastene light tuna in oil at $2.49 a can and it blows away anything produced by a major US packer. Solid white in water is cardboard by comparison.

                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                    In the short couple of weeks since this thread started, Progresso shrank the weight of its tuna cans to 5 oz also. Predictable and infuriating.

                                                                                                    1. re: efdee

                                                                                                      There's Progresso tuna??? Never knew that! Really, I don't think I've EVER seen that in any store! But I believe you!

                                                                                                  2. re: Humbucker

                                                                                                    Most of the "other" smoked and canned fishes at TJs are good. Our baby loves their smoked trout.

                                                                                                  3. re: Alicat24

                                                                                                    I never had Chunk Light Tuna only Solid Whie Albacore, thanks to your post I decided to try the Chunk Light Tuna. Costco was selling Chicken of the Sea, 7oz cans for a much better price than the Albacores. Guess what, I likes it better! So for me it is better and cheaper to boot! Thanks!!

                                                                                                    1. re: MartyB

                                                                                                      You're welcome! Glad to help a convert! MMM, after revisiting this thread, I do believe a tuna salad sandwich is in order for lunch. It'll shore me up with some protein before I tackle mowing the backyard. :)

                                                                                                      1. re: Alicat24

                                                                                                        I have to agree about light tuna vs white. The white is so bland; 'solid white packing product' is right. It doesn't even taste like fish.

                                                                                                        1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                          LOL, it's interesting how we all have such varied tastes. Some posters below compare some tuna's to cat food. I'm sure it really smells like it to them but I'll alway's love my "cat foody" tuna! Even though, as I have already complained, I lose half the "minced" fish down the drain with the water.

                                                                                                  4. funny that i found this on the web because i grew up eating only solid white tuna. everything else was cat food to me. i haven't made tuna in a long time but last week thought, oh i'll whip up a nice tuna salad and make some rollups. i opened the can and had to check the can twice to see if my husband made a mistake and bought the chunk light. nope, solid white. i made it anyway, with all my usual fixings and it was disgusting!!!! cat food. i threw it all out. big wooooooof! never again. this weekend i was at a friend's house, she made chicken of the sea solid white and it was delicious. so i guess the answer is yes, the quality is awful. how sad.

                                                                                                    1. I just bought the large can of chunk light tuna from Sams Club, thinking it MUST have chunks right? I mean the can was the size of a basket ball. Nope, it was 100% sludge inside. Gross! I WAS going to make tuna salad for a large party I was planning, but instead tossed it out and made a fresh batch of ham salad.

                                                                                                      1. Since there's so much water in canned tuna now, I press it through a sieve and freeze the liquid for when I'm making fish stock or chowder.

                                                                                                        I just recalled that some years back, canned tuna was either scarce, high-priced, or out of favor (maybe the dolphin thing?) and stores were selling canned Pilchard(s). As I recall, the cans were cheaper but the fish smelled rather cat foody. What ever became of pilchards?

                                                                                                        1. I haven't been on this site for a while, but I sure have been talking about the quality downslide of BB "solit white" tuna in water. I've switched to their foil packed salmon. And I absolutely refuse to eat Chicken of the Sea. That's cat food!

                                                                                                          Dealing with those cans is so messy because the tuna is shredded to a point that I can't get the water out without losing tons of the tuna as well. And white, it is not!

                                                                                                          I will have to check and see what brands they have at BJs. I don't have a costco nearby.

                                                                                                          1. I am 60 years old and have been eating Bumble Bee tuna for over 50 years. I agree, something has dramatically changed with their tuna. Its flakerier, contains more water, has a much blander taste and its color is different. I bought several cans recently that i just would up tossing out it was so awful. I have written to the people at Bumble Bee and have gotten no repaly after 4 weeks. Beleive it or not, i now find that the only tuna i can call aceptable happens to be the A&P brand tuna which i buy locally at the Pathmark stores here in NJ.
                                                                                                            I too have been wondering why all the changes. Even the size of the can has been reduced from 6 to 5 oz over the past year or so while the price continues to rise. The pressures these companies are feeling are no greater than other food industries. Tuna is approching the price of beef these days per pound. Just try buying a tuna sandwich or a raost beef sandwich at some sub shop and youll see what i mean. Well.., i hope this isnt too much of a rant...just wanted to share my findings and say all of you who have noticed the deficeiencies arnt crazy!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: garyw

                                                                                                              A big +1 on the store brands actually being better...the A&P brand _is_ quite good.

                                                                                                              I have been buying the Shop Rite brand almost exclusively lately...solid packed white tuna in minimal water, and still in a 6oz can to boot, usually for between $1.15 - 1.35/can.
                                                                                                              It beats by a long shot any of the 'big' brands I used to buy.

                                                                                                            2. In the series she did with Jacques Pepin, although they were using oil-packed, Julia Child bemoaned the popularity of water-packed tuna when they made Salade Nicoise. Last weekend the local PBS station ran a marathon of French Chef shows made 40-some-odd years ago. In the Salade Nicoise show from THAT series, she used a can of oil-packed tuna that was the same diameter as always, but seemed taller than even the disappearing 6 oz cans. I'd guess it was at least 7, maybe 8 oz. The salad served 4 to 6 people and she used just the one can.

                                                                                                              1. This is slightly off topic, but reading this thread caused me to check out Cooks Illustrated's test tests on tuna. There are two articles on the subject. In 2002, they tested tuna packed in olive oil. There were two "highly recommended" ones:

                                                                                                                Ortiz Bonito del Norte "Ventresca"
                                                                                                                Ventresca refers to the underside of the fish, where fat is more concentrated. These small fillets blew all other contenders out of the water with their "silky texture" and "fresh flavor." $9.95 for 3.88-ounce can (YIKES!!)

                                                                                                                Ortiz Bonito del Norte (tinned)
                                                                                                                The "flaky," "tender," and "pleasant" texture of this "intense and delicious" tuna was perfect for Ni├žoise. $3.99 for a 3.95-ounce can

                                                                                                                In 2006, they tested water-packed, and the following two were "highly recommended":

                                                                                                                Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water
                                                                                                                Tasters liked its "good, mild flavor," "moist texture," "chunky appearance," "large, beautiful flakes," and "taste of the ocean." $1.39 for 6-ounce can

                                                                                                                Starkist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water
                                                                                                                Texture ruled with this "firm," "flaky," and "moist" tuna that was praised for its "fresh taste," "perfect salt level," and "mellow flavor." $1.39 for 6-ounce can

                                                                                                                1. Bumble Bee bought out the last local Stinson's Cannery (up the road) here in Maine. The tuna is of poor qualty and they have even done the impossible by making small sardine cans even smaller! Bumble bees should stick to flowers and honey, not fish.
                                                                                                                  Bumble Bee tuna song:

                                                                                                                  1. Just a quick note to let you know that since your original comment of January 2009, I believe Bumble Bee tuna continues it's decline. As a matter of fact, yesterday I opened the absolute worst can of very expensive, "Prime Fillet Solid White Albacore Gourmet Tuna In Water" that I have ever purchased in my 40 years of tuna buying experience. Not only was the texture and color questionable, but the ODOR almost knocked me off my feet. I was so angry and appalled at both cost and lack of consumability, that I decided to contact BumbleeBee at their website this morning and let them know just what I thought of their product. ALAS... the "contact us" link appears to be broken on their website... should I be surprised??? To me they are the true example of an "OSTRICH COMPANY" head buried in the sand wishing to remain clueless. Not only will I never purchase their product again, but I urge those reading this reply to do the same

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: BetchaBoop

                                                                                                                      I just bought a dozen cans of Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna because it was on sale. I opened one can. It was nothing but pureed, pulverized gray and watery mush. How anyone could eat this stuff is beyond me. I took the other 11 cans back and will never buy the BB brand again. I can recommend the Genova Tonno tuna, packed in olive oil. It is quite outstanding.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Johnara

                                                                                                                        BB Solid White is scarcely different from the chunk light anymore...same watery (or oily) mess of mush, just not as grey.
                                                                                                                        And now in a smaller 5 oz can at a higher price, for the convenience of the consumer. LOL.

                                                                                                                    2. Oh heck. Just come up with any canned brand of tuna and you're sure to be disappointed these days. I remember back in the day when all you had to do was shake a can and if all you heard was water and it sloshing around, you knew to go to the next can. Now all you hear is water sloshing and all the cans are small and the quality is just awful. I've gone to the foil packets myself because they are at least better and no water.

                                                                                                                      I think the ocean is fished out of real tuna and they're trying to fool us with baracuda or something. Ever notice how fish fillets at McDuggies used to be good? Now I know they're not tuna, not saying they are or ever were but heard on tv watching a food related televsion show that now, they McDuggies uses this bottom feeder that is plentiful in "like" Taiwan or some far away far off place, what's this world coming to? :(

                                                                                                                      1. And I thought it was just my taste buds. I've gotten the Bumble Bee filet at BJs & I agree with Miss Needle, the BB filet is what I remember as albacore back in the 50s & 60s. I haven't bought it in a while, but maybe I'll try one can just to make sure that hasn't gone downhill as well.

                                                                                                                        1. From my first memory of BB tuna, it was around 1960, when we bought some "grated" tuna.
                                                                                                                          Never again, it had bones and chunks of fin, and not sure what else.
                                                                                                                          Used to be that most brands bottom line tuna was still pretty good, but not BB brand.
                                                                                                                          Seems to have improved since then, last I had any BB tuna.
                                                                                                                          I usually bought `Star `Kist or Chicken of the Sea on sale.
                                                                                                                          For the record, my memory tells me that the cans used to be 8 ounce, and my mother agrees with that.
                                                                                                                          And we both prefer oil pack to water pack. Something about the flavor is so much better.
                                                                                                                          I am trying to figure out, chunk tuna used to be actual chunks, now it is more like flakes.
                                                                                                                          Quality dowhill, amount per container less. And cost is certainly not lower.
                                                                                                                          I normally did not buy the solid pack, had to watch the budget.
                                                                                                                          Oh yes, when fixing Tuna Helper, one can use the oil from the oil pack instead of margerine.
                                                                                                                          At least most of the tuna I bought still has the taste. Have not bought any 5 ounce cans yet, so no comment there...
                                                                                                                          I tend to eat more herring snacks than tuna nowadays, and getting harder to find good kipper snacks too. I posted on that in another thread...

                                                                                                                          1. Tuna, as with almost everything coming out of the sea today, is over fished. A mature tuna is between 650 and 1000 lbs. The average weight these days is 50 lbs. Yes, they're babies. That means loss of flavour and texture and if they're a farmed fish, probably a loss of nutrients as well.
                                                                                                                            And any of the mass market brands are going to be the same. The same fleets catch the fish and the same canneries process them. It's just different labels.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Dimwit

                                                                                                                                Well I hate that. Again I used to think buying top shelf would ensure me a nice can of tuna. But I'm inclined to believe that it is overfished and not sure anymore it's even tuna in all that wetness, blech

                                                                                                                              2. Is it tuna or is it chicken?

                                                                                                                                -Jessica Simpson

                                                                                                                                1. I hate to burst everyone's bubble, but Kirkland brand is Bumble Bee tuna. They copack the tuna at the Bumble Bee facility and Kirkland supplies the labels. Here's a link to the CNN article about it:

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: apops

                                                                                                                                    Bumble Bee is packing superior tuna for Kirkland and producing an inferior product under their own label.

                                                                                                                                  2. Reading through all these comments from the last 15 months, it becomes clear that as long as there is a steady, if not increasing, demand for tuna, the quality is going to continue to decline. Tuna may even disappear from the supermarket shelf. Sushi gains in popularity by the day, putting more pressure on large tuna, which are the choice for the sushi market, leading canners to resort to smaller, immature fish. If it is true, as stated in this thread, that the younger fish have less flavor, we are going to be stuck with that until they, too, are fished out. It would be great if measures were taken to allow the stock to recover, but I'm not holding my breath. If CH is still around 25 years hence, tuna may well be on the list of that generations' responses to the "What did your mother always have on hand that you never do?" thread.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                      I found this post by searching for why Bumblebee tuna is so cheap right now. It's on the shelves ranging from .44 cents to .60 cents for a 5 oz can. Is there anything wrong with these batches? I actually buy it for my cat for the occassional meal. However, the last time I gave him a can, he only ate part of it and threw up later.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: lazygrl

                                                                                                                                        Probably nothing 'wrong' with it per se (except that it's their usual mush). At least at that price it's closer to what it's worth.

                                                                                                                                      2. I just bought a 12 oz can of solid white albacore. I got all the stuff ready to make small, open faced sandwiches and then opened the can of tuna. It's disgusting! It's gray, mashed up, gelatinous and horribly fishy. Not only does it look bad, but it's sooo stinky. It looks bad and smells bad. I'm too afraid to eat it, so I'm throwing it out. Bumble Bee doesn't provide a phone number, so I sent them an email via their website. I want a voucher so I can get my $5 back. This can of tuna has ruined me for eating it again. I will never buy Bumble Bee again. Sad, since I've been eating it for years, though sparingly to avoid mercury poisoning. It's amazing that tuna is poisonous. I feel badly for what we've done to our environment.

                                                                                                                                        Save your money. Bumble Bee is far too expensive for it to be mushy, gray, fish matter.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: mocean

                                                                                                                                          I used to be willing to brag about Polar tuna. Not anymore cause I can't find it now :(

                                                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                            My understanding is that Polar is a Chinese brand. I'm kind of leery of them as it seems their standards are a bit less stringent than US ones.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                              It also seems no matter cause I can't find it any longer. I will look today in the supermarkets of Vancouver. Maybe I can find something good and worthwhile on Granville Island. probably not Polar though, I'll see my offerings.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: mocean

                                                                                                                                            I, too just experienced the same thing with BB canned tuna in water. Twice now in the past two weeks. A real disgusting bad fishy smell and gray ashy color. I tossed it. Id rather throw away $1.38 then have food poisoning. I dont know how it is anywhere else but here in eastern, CT, Im finding a lot of food quality to be in poor condition and not enough supply for the demand.

                                                                                                                                          3. I am surprised that the larger companies are still able to can tuna. Tuna stocks around the world have really taken a hammering, and the popularity of sushi in the last 20 years has really changed the price structure of tuna. The specialty canners making high-priced products are likely the only ones that can stay in business without dropping quality significantly.

                                                                                                                                            1. BB Chunk Light Tuna looks like stuff vacuumed up from the floor drains in the canning factory. I would feel guilty feeding it to my dog. The least they could do is stop calling it "Chunk." Polar, for example, really is chunk and is worth the greater cost.

                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: crmudgn

                                                                                                                                                ...and the BB "solid white" is not much better. Pure mush.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                  I bought the large 3lb can from Sams Club of BB "Solid White" and it was a giant glob of scales and mush. I was going to use it to make finger sandwiches for a Christmas Party. I threw all of it away, and made deviled ham sandwiches from a chunk of ham ends from the deli.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: crmudgn

                                                                                                                                                  for whatever reason though, I can't find polar now.

                                                                                                                                                  yesterday my son wanted a tuna sandwich for his drive home.
                                                                                                                                                  I opened a small sized can of "select" CotS or Starkist [olive oil packed] can't remember which one, anyway, more expensive so I'd hoped it'd be better than average and it was. my son got a beautiful sandwich. then doing all my baking I got hungry and decided to open a can for a sandwich for me. it was BB light chunk, absolutely pinkish grayish mush. awful, although I ate my sandwich I was once again reminded of the awfulness of regular, what we used to be used to, tuna. this morning I decided to make a tuna sandwich for my husbands lunch at work and found an Albertsons brand solid white in H20. I opened it and it looked pretty good, especially compared to the dumb experience of the BB yesterday. His sandwich also turned out lovely, but honestly, I just keep buying different brands and I'm usually very disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                3. BUBBLE BEE tuna is a can of mush, i seen better cat food!!! I opened a can of starkist and it was pure white meat. I WILL NEVER BUY BB EVER AGAIN.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I get my Bumble Bee canned tuna in water in Walmart in eastern CT. For the past two weeks Ive opened two cans of bad tuna. I knew it the minute the can opener put the hole in the can. Its a bad fishy smell and the color of the tuna is kind of ashy looking. A good can of tuna should smell like ocean fish and be very light tan. Also thety seem to be putting less in the can. I think Bumble Bee tuna is just another victim of our failing environment. Its getting very scary. Id advise everyone who reads this to be careful in not just canned tuna but all your food.

                                                                                                                                                    1. The best recent discovery I've made on the tuna front is the WEGMAN'S brand of canned tuna...a 6 ounce can of true _solid pack_ white tuna in water (and it's not mostly water like BB is these days)...and for less than 80 cents per can. It's solid white tuna the way we all remember it from 30+ years ago.

                                                                                                                                                      If there'a Wegman's near you, get some and try it...I GUARANTEE you won't be disappointed

                                                                                                                                                      1. Soon it will go from tuna fish to tuna "food".. Hey, I guess if it's good enough for cheese. *smh* Just awful..

                                                                                                                                                        1. I stopped buying Bumble Bee last year due to opening too many cans to find mostly oil/water, then mushy tuna, and in some cans scales! It is disgusting.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Amron

                                                                                                                                                            yep it's been awful and "non real quality tuna-ish" for a very long time