Fish Consumption Guidelines: New Chart Helps Pregnant Moms & Parents Make Good Choices! by Donna John

Fish Consumption Guidelines: New Chart Helps Pregnant Moms & Parents Make Good Choices!

The FDA and the EPA have issued final advice regarding fish consumption. The advice is geared toward helping women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents of young children, make informed choices when it comes to fish that are healthy and safe to eat. To help these consumers more easily understand the types of fish to select, the agencies have created an easy-to-use reference chart that sorts 62 types of fish into three categories:

  • “Best choices” (eat 2-3 servings a week)
  • “Good choices” (eat 1 serving a week)
  • “Fish to avoid”

The FDA found that 50 percent of pregnant women surveyed ate fewer than 2 ounces a week, far less than what's recommended. Because the nutritional benefits of eating fish are important for growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood, the agencies are recommending 2-3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week, or 8 to 12 ounces. However, all fish contain at least traces of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if a person is exposed to too much of it over time. The maximum level of consumption recommended in the final advice is consistent with the previous recommended level of 12 ounces per week. 

For adults, a typical serving is 4 ounces of fish, measured before cooking. Serving sizes for children should be smaller and adjusted for their age and total calorie needs. It is recommended that children eat fish once or twice a week, selected from a variety of fish types.

All retailers, grocers and others are urged to post this new advice, including the reference chart listing fish to choose, prominently in their stores so consumers can make informed decisions. Read more about the fish consumption recommendations here!

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