Suspected 'glass' in canned fish actually natural crystal

A local woman contacted the Problem Solvers after finding what look like tiny, sharp pieces of glass stuck inside the layers of canned tuna. When I went to take a closer look, I could understand why she was concerned.

The clear shards were difficult to see against the moist white fish but sure enough, we dug five of them out of the multiple cans she'd purchased. They look and feel like glass - but it turns out they're not glass at all. They're called Struvite.

Struvite is a crystal formation made of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate - mineral elements that naturally occur in fish. The separate elements sometimes bond during the canning process to form crystals.

Health experts confirm Struvite crystals pose no danger. And Erika is far from the first consumer to suspect glass in canned fish products. The FDA says it happens from time to time.

I found an easy test to help you rule out glass in canned food. Pour some vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. You don't need much, just enough to cover the shards in question.

Pop the bowl in the microwave long enough to get the vinegar warm - about 30 seconds. Then place the shards in the warm vinegar. After about ten minutes or so, you'll see that most of the crystals are gone - dissolved in the acidic vinegar, just like they do in your stomach.

When I contacted the Food and Drug Administration, spokesman Alan Bennet confirmed what the Seafood Products Association told me. Most canned seafood is Struvite-free. If you find the crystals in canned fish - including tuna, salmon, shrimp and crab you can simply discard them.

If, however, you happen to bite down on a "crunchie" - know that food safety experts say there's no cause for alarm. The crystal should easily break in to pieces and dissolve during digestion.

The FDA is currently working to put information about Struvite on it's website. In the meantime, here's a link to one of the better articles I found during my research.

Ground beef recall

The USDA announced more than 14,000 pounds of ground beef is being recalled because it may be contaminated with E. Coli. The beef was produced by Creekstone Farms of Arkansas City, Kansas and Washington is among the 10 states were the product was shipped.

Unfortunately for consumers, the beef likely re-packaged under different retail brand names. The USDA doesn't have that information yet.

If you have ground beef that was purchased after February 22nd, ask the store where it came from.

The USDA says it will update it's website with the different retail brand names.
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