FDA revises fish consumption advice for pregnant, breastfeeding women
The FDA has revised its 2017 advice on fish and shellfish consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children to help ensure they consume the recommended amount of seafood, according to a press release.
“Fish and shellfish are an important part of a well-rounded diet,” Susan Mayne, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in the press release. “However, we know many consumers worry about mercury in fish and even choose to limit or avoid fish because of this concern. In fact, we have seen that women in the U.S. who are pregnant are consuming far less than the recommended amount of seafood.”
According to the press release, the 2017 guidelines addressed consumer concerns by providing a reference chart meant to help consumers understand mercury levels in specific types of fish and what types were better to eat more or less of. In the release, the FDA stated that the revision did not change the chart, but added more information on the benefits of fish as part of a healthy based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The FDA’s revision included more information on nutrients found in fish, including several that are essential to growth and development in pregnancy and early childhood. It also included information on other benefits a diet with fish such as improved heart health and a lower risk for obesity.
The release stated that the revision was made to help those who need to limit their exposure to mercury select seafood lower in mercury to consume, such as salmon, shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, tilapia, catfish and cod.
The FDA reinforced its recommendation that women who may become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding and young children should avoid the types of commercial fish with the highest mercury levels on the 2017 chart, including marlin, swordfish, and bigeye tuna.
“Our goal is to make sure Americans are equipped with this knowledge so that they can reap the benefits of eating fish, while choosing types of fish that are safe for them and their families to eat,” Mayne stated in the press release. – by Erin Michael
Disclosures: Mayne works for the FDA.