FDA Issues New Guidance on Fish Consumption

Fish is well known as a high source of protein and many varieties provide a good source of omega 3 and other important nutrients yet due to growing mercury concerns over the years the consumption of fish has been surrounded by controversy and confusion. This issue is perhaps most concerning to pregnant women and nursing mothers. Also, parents must pay attention to the amount of consumption of certain types of fish by young children.

fda fishLast week some helpful information and more clarity around this issue was offered by new guidance from the EPA and FDA encouraging Americans – especially pregnant and nursing women and parents of young children – to eat more fish. The FDA provided a color-coded chart that easily identifies which types of fish are best and can be safely eaten frequently vs. fish that should be consumed on a limited basis or those to be avoided. The chart can be found on the FDA page at the link below. This new guidance greatly expands the types of fish in each category which makes it easy for consumers to make better choices. There is also clarification about serving size. Most notable is the change from 2004, when the FDA guidance stated that consumers should eat up to 8 to 12 oz. of fish per week. Now the guidance states that consumers should eat 8 to 12 oz. of fish per week. This important change in language coupled with the easy to follow chart on the FDA page will encourage more people to enjoy the nutrition benefits of the appropriate type of fish more frequently.

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