Should Pregnant Women Avoid Eating Tuna?
Consumer Reports published a special report today saying that women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid eating all forms of tuna due a high potential for mercury exposure.
These remarks come after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a combined statement in June suggesting that pregnant women eat between 8 and 12 ounces (that's 2 to 3 servings) of fish per week.
This was the first time either organization had ever recommended a minimum amount of fish that should be consumed, LA Weekly reported, though they have made maximum consumption directives in the past. Their guidelines cited important nutritional benefits that can come from eating fish such as improving growth and development before birth and during infancy.
While the FDA and EPA recommendations do say that pregnant women should monitor the types of fish they're eating to limit mercury exposure, Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, told The Washington Post simply, "We encourage pregnant women to avoid all tuna." Mercury exposure before birth can result in neurological disorders and impair development of a baby's brain and nervous system, among other potential risks, the EPA states.
Not surprisingly, the National Fisheries Institute took issue with CR's conclusions. In a statement, it said: "Though we urged CR to do a thorough, balanced and science-based job, that obviously did not happen. Minimal research would have presented reporters literally hundreds of independent seafood studies from the FDA to the World Health Organization that clearly demonstrate the net benefit gained from eating seafood, like tuna."
Confused now? If you're pregnant, ask your healthcare provider about what's best for you and your baby. And read about these five simple ways to eat healthier during your pregnancy.
Photo of tuna courtesy of Shutterstock.