NFI again takes on Dr. Oz


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 23, 2010

The National Fisheries Institute is calling out the TV personality for a column that he and his colleague, Dr. Michael Roizen, wrote about contaminates in seafood. The piece ran in the 1 August issue of the Washington Examiner.

In a letter to the newspaper's managing editor and director of publishing, NFI spokesman Gavin Gibbons pointed out two inaccuracies in the column.

Oz and Roizen wrote that flaxseed, walnuts and even hemp are good sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Citing a recent article in the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, Gibbons said that the type of omega-3s found in those plants is not the same as the more beneficial kind found in fish. The human body cannot efficiently convert the omega-3s in plants into the kind from fish, he explained.

The second blunder involved the recommendation that consumers concerned with toxins in fish eat algae instead.

Again citing the article, Gibbons emphasized that the benefits of eating seafood outweigh the risks, so there is no nutritional reason for consumers to substitute fish for algae. "Besides, you're unlikely to make dinner from a plateful of algae; one of the many advantages of eating more fish is that it takes the place of less-healthy protein sources in your diet," read the article.

NFI's row with Dr. Oz dates back to January, when the McLean, Va.-based industry group called out Oprah's go-to physician for his show airing "serious scientific inaccuracies" linking seafood consumption to mercury toxicity.

Oz has shined seafood in a positive light. In February, he named barramundi as one of his "5 Superfoods We Must All Eat Now," due to its low mercury levels and anti-aging, immune-boosting and cancer-fighting properties. But in promoting the species he still made a few misleading statements that barramundi producer Australis Aquaculture clarified.

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