News & tips on health, fitness and nutrition

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Testing of Seafood to Address Mercury Concerns

A number of restaurants and retailers in different parts of the country have started testing the fish they sell in response to concerns about the amount of mercury in seafood, and the Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury content in fish sold in the New York City region.

EAT UP Sardines are low in mercury, as are many other seafood choices.
The regional office of the federal agency, which began the study because the city found high levels of mercury in the blood of New Yorkers last spring, will examine the 20 most commonly eaten fish in the region, including tuna.

Recent laboratory tests reported last week in The New York Times found so much mercury in some sushi made with tuna, particularly bluefin, that a long-term diet of even two or three pieces a week would exceed the levels considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The National Fisheries Institute, a trade association for the seafood industry, said it was sending fish sellers leaflets offering information on seafood safety. Some retailers said they also received faxes from the institute criticizing the article in The Times.
Mary Anne Hansan, the vice president of the National Fisheries Institute, said it was sending out the leaflets because “what we are hearing is a lot of consumer confusion about what to believe when it comes to seafood.” The association, she said, is letting people know about “the well-documented benefits” of seafood.
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