IN MIDST OF AMERICAN-MEDIA MERCURY SCARE, GROUPS ABROAD STICK TO SCIENCE
British public policy leaders call for pregnant women and everyone to eat more fish
Today British public policy leaders highlight the role seafood plays
in health. The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) applauds a call from
the Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum (FHF) for the British
government to re-evaluate current public health advice about eating
Existing United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines say
that women who are or may become pregnant can eat between one and two
portions of oily fish a week. But the January 2008 FHF report
recommends a shift to encourage eating more fish. Old guidelines
should be reconsidered with, a view to encouraging [women of
childbearing age] to eat at least two portions of oily fish, or the
equivalent in omega-3 [polyunsaturated fats], a week. FHF went to
say, we recommend that all people in the UK should be encouraged to
eat more fish.
NFI President John Connelly said, NFI shares the FHFs sentiments
regarding current advisories that limit consumption of fish. The latest
science shows that the impact from mercury in fish is extremely rare,
while long chain omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies are all too common.
Long chain omega-3s from fish benefit brain development in fetuses and
young children and reduce the risk of heart disease as we age.
The FHF recommendation comes just months after the International
Association of Seafood Inspectors (IAFI) challenged public health
authorities to reevaluate current thinking on mercury warnings. The
IAFI board said, caution by some prominent health authorities includes
advisories that deter consumption of fish by certain types or locations
in order to maintain large margins of safety because actual risk has
not been measured.
NFI strongly urges a review of advice that will protect the health
of all who eat seafood without being overly cautionary and creating an
environment of fear. The benefits of seafood far outweigh the impact of
trace amounts of mercury. While pregnant mothers should avoid shark,
tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel, which are rarely available and
consumed, the emerging science makes clear that they put themselves and
their children at risk when limiting overall fish consumption during
pregnancy and beyond.
For more than 60 years, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI)
and its members have provided American families with the variety of
sustainable seafood essential to a healthy diet. For more information