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FDA: Pregnant women should eat more fish

Published June 10, 2014 2:40 pm

Confusion? • Without labels, critics say nobody knows which fish are low in mercury.
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Washington • Pregnant women are being advised by the government to eat more fish, but there won't be any labels or signs to let them know which fish have low mercury levels and are safest for dinner.

Without a labeling requirement, the draft advice issued Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency is unlikely to clear up confusion among shoppers about what seafood pregnant women, young children and other vulnerable groups should avoid. Rather they'll have to rely on memory — should they avoid swordfish? Yes. What about salmon? That's OK.

Echoing their earlier advice, the agencies said this population should not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico because of the mercury content and advised limiting white albacore tuna to six ounces a week.

The advisory says many of the most commonly-eaten fish are lower in mercury, including salmon, shrimp, pollock, tilapia, catfish, cod, flatfish, haddock and canned light tuna.

The seafood industry has said the government shouldn't look at mercury by itself, but at the overall benefits of seafood.