Pregnant women should eat low-mercury seafood, says FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration is reminding pregnant women to stay away from certain fish that can be high in mercury. But the agency won't require package labeling on mercury content, which is what consumer groups had sought.

The move is unlikely to clear up confusion over exactly what seafood pregnant women should eat or stay away from. Consumer groups had long sought the labeling, saying that government guidelines are hard for pregnant women to remember.

The FDA says the update to its 2004 advice is an attempt to get pregnant women to eat more fish, since many types of low-mercury seafood are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids important for brain development.

But fish also can absorb mercury, a neurotoxin, from streams and oceans - and a small number of varieties harbor higher levels.

Mercury Levels In Fish: Lower Mercury

Eat no more than six 6-oz servings per month

Bass ( Striped, Black)
Carp
Cod ( Alaskan)
Croaker ( White Pacific)
Halibut ( Pacific and Atlantic) Jacksmelt ( Silverside)
Lobster
Mahi Mahi
Monkfish
Perch (freshwater)
Sablefish
Skate
Snapper
Sea Trout ( Weakfish)
Tuna (canned, chunk light)
Tuna (Skipjack)

Lowest Mercury

Enjoy two 6-oz servings per week

Anchovies
Butterfish
Catfish
Clam
Crab (Domestic)
Crawfish/crayfish
Croaker
Flounder
Haddock
Hake
Herring
Mackeral (N Atlantic, Chub)
Mullet
Oysters
Perch (ocean)
Plaice
Salmon ( Canned, Fresh)
Sardines
Scallops
Shad ( American)
Shrimp
Sole
Squid ( Calamari)
Tilapia
Trout (freshwater)
Whitefish
Whiting

Source: American Pregnancy Association

Related Link: Mercury Levels in Fish

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