October 19, 2017

Environmental Working Group Releases Seafood Guide

Environmental Working Group has released a “Good Seafood Guide” that helps consumers consume fish and shellfish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, low in mercury, and harvested from sustainable sources. The agency offers a calculator, a guide to seafood, and an FAQ on how much seafood people should eat.

Seafood AssortmentThe calculator lets you input weight, age, gender, pregnancy status, and heart disease condition. A personalized list of which fish to eat will be generated which includes more than 80 species. The seafood is divided into five categories: Best Bets, which include wild salmon and sardines; Good Choices, which include Oysters and Pollock; Low Mercury but Low Omega-3s, which include Shrimp, Tilapia, and Scallops; Mercury Risks Add Up, which include Halibut and Lobster; and Avoid, which include Shark, Swordfish, Marlin, and Orange Roughy.

The FDA and EPA proposed an advisory earlier this year about how much seafood pregnant women and children should eat to avoid mercury contamination. But EWG says that that advisory is inadequate. Philippe Grandjean, professor at Harvard School of Public Health said about the FDA’s recommendations: “studies document adverse health effects in children whose mothers were exposed to mercury at levels that were previously thought to be safe. Mercury exposure should be minimized.”

EWG Senior Analyst Sonya Lunder said in a statement, “we can’t trust the government to keep our exposure to toxic mercury within safe limits. The guidelines could lead some people to consume too much mercury, and others, too few omega-3s. Families should look to EWG’s new guide and calculator to learn how to get the most nutrition from seafood without risking their health.”

EWG is going to release a new Food Database and mobile smartphone app later this fall. This tool will have information on more than 80,000 foods and 5,000 ingredients from 1,500 grams to help consumers shop smarter and eat healthier. The Database will be scored on nutrition, ingredient concerns, and degree of processing.

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