Pregnant women should limit tuna intake

July 30, 2002 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Pregnant women should limit tuna intake

An advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended last week that pregnant women and women of childbearing age limit their intake of tuna, at least while the further studies of mercury content are conducted.

It's not clear if the mercury in the fish is truly dangerous to a developing fetus, and how much would be toxic.

The panel was convened to assess the effectiveness of FDA's early 2001 warning to women who are pregnant or of childbearing age. At that time, the federal agency advised such women to avoid against eating shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. The FDA had also urged people to eat a "variety of fish" to ensure against potentially high mercury intake.

After three days of debate, the FDA advisers said that the agency should better define what it meant by "variety," and that it should better assess the risk of mercury intake from different fish, especially tuna, which is the most-consumed fish in the United States.

It is likely that the FDA will come out with a revised advisory in the future. In the meantime, don't stop eating heart healthy fish - salmon, herring, sardines, and trout All are great sources of omega-3 fats. And they do not contain high levels of mercury.

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