Seafood Benefits Outweigh Risks

A recent survey conducted by the University of Maryland found that consumers listed tuna, shrimp, and salmon as the fish with the highest levels of mercury. However, when asked which fish had the lowest levels of mercury, the answers were identical. University researcher Maureen Storey claims that, "We want pregnant women to eat fish, as there are plenty of benefits to the fetus in terms of cognitive development and other factors... There may be some risk in consumption of fish, but there's a bigger risk in not consuming fish at all." The fish with the highest levels of mercury content are large predatory fish, of which most commonly consumed are shark, swordfish, and tilefish.

Toxicology expert Charles Santerre is observing the confusion setting in for a state like Indiana, where seafood intake is already lower than the coastal areas. He claims that not getting enough fish and disregarding their subsequent health benefits is more hazardous to health than any other risk posed.

Santerre states that, "Many physicians are not well versed in the true risks. They're telling their pregnant patients to simply not eat fish and that's just very bad advice." The survey found that despite the American Heart Association recommendation of 2 weekly servings of fish, only 17 percent reported eating that much and only 24 percent ate fish a few times a month.

The United States annual per capita consumption of poultry is 86 pounds, beef is 66 pounds, and fish is only 16 pounds according to the National Fisheries Institute. Barbara Blackistone, Spokeswoman for the Institute, Barbara Blackistone claims that "Fish is really the poster child of food safety" and "headlines tend to paint a worst-case scenario without telling the whole story".


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