NOAA Re-launches FishWatch.com
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration re-launched its FishWatch consumer Web site during a press conference at the International Boston Seafood Show yesterday. The site, www.fishwatch.noaa.gov, features 50 common species and was originally launched for testing last summer. The FishWatch site also includes information to help consumers eliminate the confusion and guesswork about seafood consumption.
"The American public looks to their government for information they can rely on, and we're proud to give them FishWatch," said retired Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA administrator. "Consumers are rightfully confused given all the misleading and conflicting information available to them, but FishWatch will help them become better educated and prepared seafood consumers."
NOAA brought in representatives from the public health sector and the seafood industry to dispel some of the misinformation fed to consumers regarding potential contaminants in seafood, including methylmercury.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, clarified three confusing seafood-safety topics. First, he mentioned the joint Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency seafood consumption advisory regarding methylmercury only applies to consumers in sensitive subpopulations (mothers of child-bearing age, pregnant women and children).
Second, misuse of the EPA reference dose for methylmercury in seafood as a level of "danger" needs to stop. The tenfold safety factor built into the reference dose is a level without adverse health affects, added Mozaffarian. Third, he said environmental concerns should not be mixed with potential health risks.