FDA, EPA Issue Advice about Eating Fish

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued new advice about the consumption of fish and other seafood, including shellfish. The goals of these recommendations are to help women of childbearing age, breastfeeding mothers, and parents of young children to make informed choices about fish that is healthy and safe to eat.

The agencies sorted 62 types of fish and shellfish into one of three categories: "best choices" (fish to eat two or three times per week), "good choices" (fish to eat once a week), and "fish to avoid." In the U.S., nearly 90 percent of fish typically consumed falls into the "best choices" category.

According to the FDA, about 50 percent of women who are pregnant eat fewer than 2 ounces of fish per week—far less than the recommended amount. The nutritional benefits of fish are important for fetal development and growth in early childhood and 2-3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week (8 to 12 ounces) are recommended for these groups. However, all fish contains at least traces of mercury—which, at high levels, can damage the brain and nervous system over time. This new advice from the FDA and EPA is in line with the 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Sourced from: U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration