NFI blasts Consumer Reports tuna cautions

The U.S.-based National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is panning a new article from the American magazine Consumer Reports, which is advising pregnant women not to eat any canned tuna at all due to dangers of mercury poisoning.

The magazine’s report, which appears on its website under the headline “Special report: Can eating the wrong fish put you at higher risk for mercury exposure?” notes recent changes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s advice to pregnant women on eating fish. Proposed new guidelines still caution against eating large amounts of certain high-mercury fish, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish, but now the FDA is also encouraging women to eat more fish to improve fetal development and health. The magazine’s report matches the FDA on nearly all areas with the exception of tuna.

According to the article, “Consumer Reports disagrees with the recommendations from the FDA and (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) on how much tuna women and children may eat. (We don’t think pregnant women should eat any.)”

According to the NFI, the magazine’s report “flies in the face of more than a decade of independent, peer-reviewed, published science that resulted in the FDA updating its advice to pregnant women to eat more fish, including canned tuna, to realize the health benefits for baby and mother.”

The magazine article is basing its recommendations on FDA data on mercury levels in various species of seafood, but NFI countered that current science doesn’t support the magazine’s conclusions. The NFI statement accused Consumer Reports of having a history of incorrect reporting on mercury in seafood in particular.

“With hyperbolic scare-stories rife with misinformation, Consumer Reports continues to marginalize itself and ends up at odds with the larger group of legitimate nutrition and public health experts,” NFI said in its statement. “More evidence CR should stick with advice that doesn’t have the potential to harm unborn babies: reviews of stereo equipment, their core competency.”


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