U.S. to warn women of mercury in tuna

December 12, 2003 in Food Safety, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

U.S. to warn women of mercury in tuna

The U.S. government plans to warn women of childbearing age to limit their consumption of tuna because of concerns about mercury poisoning, according to a recent report.

A draft advisory from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency cautions pregnant women, nursing mothers, young children and women of childbearing age to limit their intake of tuna and other fish and shellfish to 12 ounces a week.

The FDA has previously warned pregnant women against eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish because of their high levels of mercury, but had not included tuna on that list because it feared women would substitute it with less nutritious food.

Among seafood, tuna ranks second only to shrimp in popularity in the United States.

The advisory says mercury levels in tuna can vary: fresh tuna steaks, for example, have higher mercury levels than canned light tuna. Women can safely eat tuna on a weekly basis, but those at risk are being told to eat no more than six ounces a week.

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