By Tom Reopelle

SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A Southland charity defended its decision Monday to give away fish that had been previously used in government testing to feed those in need.

KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports tuna that was originally used for scientific studies will now end up going under the dinner knife.

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Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initially killed the 800 pounds of albacore tuna to study their eating habits, age, and growth rates, according to the Associated Press.

After the testing was completed, the fish were donated to the nonprofit group Meals On Wheels to feed the elderly and the homeless.

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Some critics are questioning the safety of such fish after being subject to laboratory conditions and experimentation, but Debbie Case with Meals On Wheels said such fears are unfounded.

“They aren’t doing anything weird to the fish, they’re not doing any genetic research or introducing any chemicals or foreign substances into the dead fish,” she said.

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Researchers said they saw no reason to waste the fish as hunger rates continue to climb in the U.S.