NFI Contests Seafood Advice from Valletta, Oceana


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 11, 2008

In honor of Mother's Day yesterday, Oceana spokesperson and actress Amber Valletta cautioned consumers to avoid seafood relatively high in the neurotoxin methylmercury.

Valletta recommended that pregnant women, mothers and children limit seafood consumption to 12 ounces per week; choose canned light, or skipjack, tuna or Alaska salmon over white, or albacore, tuna; and eat seafood low on the food chain, such as tilapia, cod, shrimp, crab or oysters.

She also advised consumers to ask their grocery stores to post mercury warning signs in their seafood departments and to donate to Oceana's Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency warn pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children to avoid swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel and to limit albacore tuna consumption to 6 ounces per week.

In response to Oceana's Mother's Day campaign, the National Fisheries Institute said that three studies within the last two months from the Child and Family Research Institute, Harvard Medical School and Wayne State University School of Medicine all concluded that a seafood-deficient diet may hinder optimal brain development for babies.

"We applaud [Valletta's] interest in promoting a healthy diet for moms and their children, but the very latest research on nutrition is at odds with some of your recommendations," said NFI spokesperson and registered dietician Jennifer Wilmes.

"Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and young children should continue to abide by the EPA and FDA recommendations about seafood," she added. "This advice, first and foremost, emphasizes the importance of fish for heart health and proper child development, and says women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits."

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