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Seafood | Health benefits and Harmful Toxins

  • Fish is rich in healthy omega oils, but eating fish also exposes people to mercury (neurotoxin), lead, arsenic, PCB's and other toxins.  ("Fish consumption rates to be updated," by Becky Kramer, The Spokesman-Review, November 7, 2013)

  • Pregnant women, those who may become pregnant, and young children should avoid certain types of high-mercury fish because of concern that too much could harm a developing brain.  The FDA has warned that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish, or king mackerel because of their mercury content, and advised limiting white albacore tuna to 6 ounces a week.   ("Guide on mercury in fish to be updated - FDA move to help pregnant women," by Mary Clare Jalonick and Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, May 31, 2014)

  • Consumer Reports has challenged the FDAís report on mercury in fish.  Consumer Reportís analysis says the mercury level in chunk light tuna is much higher than the governmentís data.  Some of the damaging effects of mercury consists of neurotoxins, which greatly affect a developing fetus.  Mercury is also an immune toxin.  Consumer Reports has a recommended list of fish which are safer to eat.  To read how much mercury you may be getting from fish, and how much is safe to consume, read the CR piece from CBS.    (Fish Face- Off, Consumer Reports takes on FDA over guidelines, CBS This Morning News, Aug. 21, 2014)

  • Seafood Fraud.  One-third of fish sold in the U.S. is mislabeled, because there is no national system to monitor sea food fraud.  A third of the seafood sold nationwide and almost 40% of the fish purchased by consumers in Northern California was not what it was touted to be, a study released by the nonprofit group Oceana revealed.  Restaurants in Northern California misidentified fish 58 percent of the time, while grocery stores mislabeled their products 27% of the time.
Genetic testing of 1,215 fish taken from 674 retail outlets, grocery stores and sushi bars throughout the United States between 2010 and 2012 found that 33% of the samples had been mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

"Seafood fraud harms not only the consumer's pocket book, but also every honest vendor or fisherman along the supply chain. These fraudulent practices also carry potentially serious concerns for the health of consumers, and for the health of our oceans and vulnerable fish populations."   "Mislabeled fish a widespread problem," by Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, February 21, 2013, http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Mislabeled-fish-a-widespread-problem-4295946.php#ixzz2LZkoEX7b