The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the availability of revised advice about eating fish, which updates advice that FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly issued in January 2017.
While it is important to limit mercury in the diets of women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and young children, many types of fish are both nutritious and lower in mercury. The revised advice highlights the many nutritional components in fish, many of which have important roles in growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood. It also highlights the potential health benefits of eating fish as part of a healthy eating pattern, particularly for heart health benefits and lowering the risk of obesity.
The advice is intended to help women who are or might become pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and parents of children aged 2 years and older make informed choices about fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. While the advice categorizing fish based on their mercury levels has not changed, the revised document further promotes the science-based recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans on the importance of fish in healthy eating patterns. It retains the easy-to-use reference chart that sorts more than 60 types of fish into three categories, based on their levels of mercury: Best Choices, Good Choices, and Choices to Avoid.