Should Pregnant Women Avoid Tuna?

Should Pregnant Women Avoid Tuna?
Should Pregnant Women Avoid Tuna?

(HealthDay News) — In a new review of seafood safety, Consumer Reports is advising that pregnant women avoid eating tuna due to concerns about mercury exposure. Adults who eat 24 ounces (1.5 pounds) or more of seafood per week should also avoid seafood with high mercury levels, including sushi made with tuna, the independent product testing group said.

In its review, Consumer Reports analyzed U.S. Food and Drug Administration data on mercury levels in various types of seafood. The group identified about 20 types of seafood that can be consumed several times a week without raising concerns about mercury exposure. Seafood with the lowest mercury levels include wild salmon, scallops, shrimp (most wild and U.S. farmed), and tilapia. Other seafood with low-mercury levels include catfish, crab, trout, flounder, and sole (flatfish), according to the report that appears in the October issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

"We're particularly concerned about canned tuna, which is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the United States. We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna," Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports, said in a news release from the group.

Newly updated guidelines from the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency say that women of childbearing age and young children should not eat the four types of fish with the highest mercury levels: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. The agencies are also considering adding marlin and orange roughy to that list, according to Consumer Reports.

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