In June I wrote about the FDA’s advice to pregnant women to avoid eating fish high in methylmercury. The advisory said to avoid the four fish highest in methylmercury: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
Now Consumer Reports advises pregnant women not to eat tuna at all.
- Asks FDA Deputy Commissioner Mike Taylor to fix the charts it released with its advisory to make it clear that tuna is a high-mercury fish
- Issues copies of the charts showing amounts of methymercury in various kinds of fish.
- Publishes an article on the problems with mercury in fish.
- Gives the methods used as a basis for the article.
So what’s going on here?
In my book, What to Eat, I included a chapter on this very topic: “The Methylmercury Dilemma.” Here’s a quote:
Albacore tuna clearly belonged on the list of fish to avoid, but advice to restrict its consumption would surely affect the livelihoods of people who fish for, can, and sell tuna. Because hardly anyone knows the difference between one kind of tuna and another, fish companies worried that consumers would interpret advice to avoid albacore tuna as advice to avoid all tuna. Industry lobbyists urged the FDA to keep albacore tuna off the methylmercury advisory. Somehow, albacore tuna got left off.
That was in 2006. Consumer Reports tells us that pretty much all tuna is too high in methylmercury to be consumed by pregnant women. So this comment still seems relevant, no?
Evidence: Here’s the response from the National Fisheries Institute: “Consumer Reports has long history of intentionally mischaracterizing tuna.”