Julie Greene of the Herald Mail reports that there’s a long list of dos and don’ts for pregnant women. Consumer Reports recently recommending a new don’t – tuna of any kind.
Fish is an important source of protein that is low in saturated fat and high in nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids. But some fish should be avoided by pregnant women due to their high mercury content, and other fish, with lower mercury levels, should be eaten in limited quantities.
Mercury can harm an unborn baby’s developing nervous system and could result in cognitive disorders or impairments or slow learning, says Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist with Consumer Reports.
The Food and Drug Administration has suggested pregnant women eat no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore or white tuna fish a week and no more than 12 ounces of canned light tuna a week.
Earlier this month Consumer Reports announced it had studied FDA data concerning the amount of mercury in canned light tuna and recommended pregnant women steer clear of tuna altogether.
That means canned tuna or filets, Rangan says.
Consumer Reports found most canned light tuna contained less mercury, on average, than canned albacore tuna. However, sometimes light-tuna samples had more mercury than canned albacore.
Rangan says there’s enough variability in the amount of mercury in canned tuna that consumers just don’t know what they’re getting when they buy it.
The FDA issued a statement June 6 advising consumers that its previous 2004 advisory concerning mercury in fish and shellfish remains current. That advisory states eating tuna fish – light or albacore – is recommended in limited amounts for pregnant women, women who might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children.
For pregnant women concerned about mercury in tuna fish, Imler suggests an alternative such as freshwater trout. Freshwater trout is among the fish with the lowest mercury levels, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Web site.