USFDA advises pregnant women to avoid consuming fish with high mercury levels

September 8, 2019 0 By FM

The US FDA has revised its 2017 dietary guidelines providing fish advice for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and young children to highlight the need for avoiding certain varieties of fish.

The agency suggests that consumers should limit their exposure to mercury by choosing from the many types of fish that are low in mercury – including those commonly found in grocery stores, such as salmon, shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.

It is important to note that women who might become pregnant or who are pregnant or breastfeeding—along with young children—should avoid fish with the highest levels of mercury, including king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, tilefish, bigeye tuna etc…

“Fish and shellfish are an important part of a well-rounded diet. However, we know many consumers worry about mercury in fish and even choose to limit or avoid fish because of this concern,”. said Susan Mayne, Ph D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in a press release.

Pregnant women in the U.S. are consuming far less than the recommended amount of seafood, she added. 

In 2017, the agency had released an easy-to-use reference chart to help consumers understand which types of fish to eat, based on mercury levels.

Though the information in the chart has not changed, the revised guidelines provide additional data about the benefits of fish as a part of healthy eating patterns by promoting the science-based recommendations.

They provide advice for people in the US 2 years of age and older and recommend that adults eat at least 8 ounces of seafood per week based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

The new guidance highlights many nutrients found in fish, some of which have important roles in growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood.

It also throws light on the potential health benefits of eating fish as a part of a healthy eating pattern, particularly for improving heart health and lowering the risk of obesity.