New FDA guidelines on fish consumption for pregnant women

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New guidelines from the FDA and EPA issued final advice for fish consumption. It’s geared towards helping pregnant women when it comes to eating fish.

The FDA now has a chart that makes it easier for pregnant women and others to choose from dozens of healthy and safe options. Nearly 90 percent of fish eaten in the U.S. fall into the “best choice” category.

The FDA recommends 2 to 3 servings of lower mercury fish per week or 8 to 12 ounces. That includes salmon, flounder, halibut and trout.

Doctors say pregnant women should avoid big fish such as swordfish, white albacore tuna, king mackerel, shark, orange roughy, tile fish. Experts say they have high levels of mercury.

The fish consumption advice is also geared towards breastfeeding mothers and young children.

Doctors say there are nutritional benefits that are important for growth and development, people just need to be cautious of how much fish they’re consuming.

“Fish is really good for you and eating lots and lots of fish would be really good for you except for the fact that we have polluted fish with mercury, so the reason pregnant women are being told to avoid these fishes is because they’re carrying a baby who’s brain is developing and the developing brain is very very sensitive to mercury toxicity,” said Dr. Sara Koritz, OBGYN at Mercy Hospital.

For adults, the FDA says 4 ounces of fish is appropriate, serving sizes for children should be smaller than that. Experts say children should eat fish once or twice a week.

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