Seafood science likely to see US food authority promote increased fish consumption

Posted by Editorial on 16th December 2008

President of IAFI, Jayne Gallagher, has welcomed news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised the USA Government to amend its seafood
advisory based on the latest science.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that the FDA has concluded that the greatest benefits to pregnant women and women of childbearing age would come from eating more fish/seafood. There has previously been advice from food standards bodies to moderate consumption during pregnancy due to fears about mercury.

“We have discussed this issue in detail at our last two World Seafood Congresses (Sydney 2005 and Dublin 2007) and it would be excellent if we could be reporting at our next Congress in Agadir, Morocco (5-10 October 2009) that the issue is well on its way to being resolved,” Ms Gallagher said. “The scientific evidence is irresistible on this matter, so much so, that in Dublin we made a unanimous call for all Public Health Authorities to reassess the benefits versus risks regarding mercury in seafood due to growing evidence that fish consumption can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and can benefit neurodevelopment in the fetus and young children such that reduced or eliminated consumption of fish could actually impose risks.”

“We urge all Government Agencies around the world in charge of dietary guidelines matters to review their current status because the latest scientific evidence shows that the real risk to women and children is not eating enough seafood,” Ms Gallagher suggested.

“In addition, we must now understand that nearly half the fish consumed as food worldwide are from aquaculture rather than caught in the wild (FAO) and to our knowledge mercury has never been an issue with farmed fish. In 1980 just 9 per cent of the fish consumed by human beings came from aquaculture, today just under 50 per cent does, and this is growing,” Ms Gallagher added.