FDA Makes Controversial Updates to Fish Guidelines for Pregnancy Health

FISH CHART 1.10 letter-copy
(Photo: FDA)

The FDA has updated its guidelines for the types and amounts of fish pregnant women should consume, but some people are not pleased about the latest update. The new recommendations have been criticised for being unclear and causing confusion.

For pregnant women it can be difficult to find a balance between getting the benefits from omega-3 fatty acids while avoiding high levels of mercury.

The new guidelines group fish by species and put them into three categories: “best choices,” “good choices,” and “fish to avoid.”

Some critics, such as Dr. Tom Brenna, a human nutrition professor at Cornell University, point out that the new guidelines seem to ignore research the FDA had already done.

“They’re completely ignoring their own [2014] report,” he told NPR about where halibut is placed on the chart. “They’ve ignored the nutrition science and at best, they’re ranking the amount of mercury.”

That isn't the only problem he has with the infographic.

Certain types of fish have different species with similar names, like tuna.

“People won’t see there’s a difference between the types of tuna, they’ll only see that tuna is on the list,” Brenna cautions.

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Experts are now cautioning women to take the new guidelines into account but do their own research into what would be best for their diets.

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