Does Canned Tuna Have Bones?

by Charlie
Canned Tuna

Canned tuna has, over the past couple of decades, become nothing short of a staple in nearly every kitchen. It’s not hard to understand why, either. It’s a versatile grocery option that can be used to make virtually anything, from calorie-packed sandwiches to lean and lightweight salads. It helps that it’s delicious, too.

If you are generally skeptical about canned meat, though, you may be wondering – does canned tuna have bones in it? For better or for worse, the answer is almost certainly yes, though the ratio will depend heavily on the quality of canned tuna that you’re buying.

How Do We Know That There Are Bones in Canned Tuna?

In short – we don’t. It’s just a reasonable possibility if you end up buying flakes instead of solid pieces or chunks. The fact that many manufacturers of canned tuna specifically mention that there may be traces of bone in the can, however, speaks volumes.

It should be pointed out that no one’s actually deliberately grinding down bones and bone chunks to mix with tuna flakes. Instead, small bits and shards of bone can make their way into the can from time to time, and the manufacturers are legally obliged to mention that.

According to sources, every effort is made to remove bones and spines out of not only canned tuna, but every other type of canned fish, too. Since fish meat often has a substantial number of fine bones, though, it’s not feasible to guarantee their complete removal in every case. This goes doubly so for marine fish.

What’s the Difference Between Tuna Flakes and Tuna Chunks?

After the largest, solid pieces of tuna meat are packed away, manufacturers are left with plenty of smaller chunks that are canned for consumption. Flakes are the leftover pieces from bigger chunks of tuna.

Since chunks of canned tuna are usually slightly more expensive than the flakes, manufacturers always specifically denote which is which on the packaging. Simply keep an eye out and you’ll be able to spot the difference easily.

When it comes to bones specifically, though, it should be easier to spot them between chunks. Flakes are small and mushy when canned, and it’s substantially more likely for manufacturers to miss small bits of bones and spine hiding in the mix during the packaging.

What are the Odds that My Can of Tuna Has Bones in It?

As far as we can tell, no statistical analysis has been made on the chance of there being bones in any particular can of tuna. With that in mind, expect to come across bones every once in a while, especially if you eat tuna often.

There are plenty of cases of people finding bits of bone in any kind of canned meat. The manufacturing process isn’t completely fool-proof, after all, and not every living tuna is made up-to-spec for packaging purposes.

As we said, if this is a major concern, you may want to stick with canned chunks of tuna over flakes, as it’s going to be easier for you to spot the bone if you do happen to get it.

Are Bones in Canned Tuna Bad For Me?

On the off chance that you managed to accidentally eat the bones you found in your can of tuna, rest easy, because the bones themselves are almost certainly harmless. If anything, they’re a reasonably good source of extra calcium!

In fact, the only issue that could conceivably happen is that you come across a particularly hard bit of bone and bite into it. The odds of this happening are extremely slim, keep in mind, but there have been reports of this being the case.

As you may know, the bones you come across in cans of fish are soft and flexible. This is due to the high-intensity heat sterilization process that each can goes through. Bones of most kinds will crumble away and become entirely innocuous after a short while, so it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anything that would cause bodily damage in a can of tuna, of all things.

What Should You Do If You Find Bones in Canned Tuna?

If you’re not queasy about bones, then the best thing to do is to dispose of the bone, thoroughly check your can for more bones (just in case), and get on with your meal. If you were hoping to get a lawsuit going, you may be disappointed to hear that this won’t really be an option.

This is one of the reasons why virtually all cans of fish come with warnings about there possibly being some bone in your can. It’s not that you’re likely to run into actual bone, but rather that you’re given fair warning that there’s a chance of this happening.

Even if there were no warning provided, though, there would be virtually no ground for a lawsuit unless you suffer significant damages (financial, health-related) specifically due to the bone you came across.

So, the best way of going about things really is to simply go on with your lunch, if you can.

Final Thoughts

Realistically, there’s a reasonably slim chance that you actually come across genuine bits of bone in canned tuna. Of course, there’s a chance, and that chance does inevitably go up or down, depending on how much canned tuna you use, but it’s not an overly significant one.

Even when you do find some bone, it’s likely to be a tiny piece that’s very easily disposed of.

It’s a given that no manufacturer wants their end-users to encounter arguably inedible byproducts of the manufacturing process, but some bone does get through every so often.

The best thing you can do if you find bone in canned tuna is to dispose of it and move on with your lunch. Remember that the odds of you spotting the bone go up if you buy larger chunks of tuna. It’s just easier for bones to be hidden away between the flakes, so avoid them if this is a major concern on your end.

You may also like