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"As a result of numerous consumer complaints of dizziness and nausea, Promofoods requested that eight million cans of tuna be returned

for testing last year. Promofoods concluded that the cans did not, after all, contain chemicals that posed a health risk. This conclusion is based on the fact that the chemists from Promofoods tested samples of the recalled cans and found that, of the eight chemicals most commonly blamed for causing symptoms of dizziness and nausea, five were not found in any of the tested cans. The chemists did find that the three remaining suspected chemicals are naturally found in all other kinds of canned foods." Promofoods concludes in the above passage that elements of their canned tuna are not responsible for consumer complaints of dizziness and nausea. This conclusion is based on the resultsof chemical testing showing an absence of several chemicals known to produce these symptoms, as well as the presence of some of these chemicals in all canned foods. I find both the logic of the author¶s argument and the evidence upon which this argument is based unsound. The logic of the author¶s argument is that the absence of chemicals associated with dizziness and nausea, or their presence in all canned foods, is sufficient to exonerate Promofoods from any responsibility for consumer complaints of dizziness and nausea. I disagree with this logic for several reasons. First, while the chemicals tested for are said to be the ³8 chemicals most commonly blamed forcausing symptoms of dizziness and nausea´, this phrase, in and of itself, implies that there are a host of others that may also produce these symptoms. The above passage seems to indicate that these were not tested for and I believe that the presence of any of these would make Promofoods culpable for the complaints issued. Second, class of symptoms tested for is limited to dizziness and nausea. There are many human diseases that can be produced by chemical, bacterial, or viral contamination of ingested material that have dizziness and nausea as part of a larger constellation of symptoms. If such contamination is present in the canned tuna, it could lead to forms of disease whose most obvious effects are dizziness and nausea, but which are not directly producing these symptoms. Beyond the logic of the arguments used to remove responsibility from Promofoods, the evidence offered in support of the arguments is also generally weak. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is the observation that Promofoods is performing its testing for chemical contamination internally. When new drugs are tested for therapeutic efficacy in the United States, such testing must be performed externally at academic research institutions. This is done to eliminate what is known as ³conflict of interest´. In the case of Promofoods, there is a clear conflict of interest where the company likely has a vested interest in negative test results in order to preserve its reputation as a provider of safe foodstuffs. Whether such bias influenced the results of the tests described above cannot be determined. The mere possibility of such bias, however, is cause for serious concern. In addition, the author indicates that 3 chemicals commonly associated with dizziness and nausea were present in the recalled cans of tuna. The recalled tuna is not blamed for causing dizziness and nausea, however, since these chemicals are said to be found in all canned foods. From these statements, little can be determined about the safety of the Promofoods canned tuna in my opinion. For example, nothing is said of the levels of these chemicals. Perhaps the levels are sufficiently high in the Promofoods tuna to produce dizziness and nausea, while in other canned goods levels are low enough to not produce these symptoms. Moreover, nothing is said regarding whether all the chemicals are always found in all canned goods, or whether at least one, but not necessarily all three, are found. If the latter situation is the case, it is not difficult to envision a situation where the combination of these three chemicals in the Promofoods tuna leads to dizziness and nausea in an additive manner, similar to the way many medications enhance the effects of alcohol, for example. In conclusion, I find the logic of the argument and the evidence in support of the argument provided generally weak. Most glaringly, the testing performed is not of sufficient scientific scrutiny. Similarly, the class of chemicals and contamination tested for are not sufficiently broad. While Promofoods may indeed not be responsible for the symptoms complained of by consumers, more rigorous and thorough testing is needed to confirm this possibility.