FDA advises pregnant women to eat low-mercury seafood, does not require package labeling

SILVER SPRING, Maryland , June 10, 2014 (press release) – Study supports updated advice for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, and young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a study titled, “Quantitative Assessment of the Net Effects of Fetal Neurodevelopment from Eating Commercial Fish (As Measured by IQ and also by Early Age Verbal Development” (Net Effects Assessment). The purpose of the study was to estimate the effects on the developing nervous system of the fetus from a pregnant woman’s consumption of commercial fish during pregnancy. It also reviews the evidence on the effects of fish consumption by young children and their own neurodevelopment. A draft of the FDA assessment was first published in 2009 and then revised to incorporate comments and advice from peer reviewers, the public, and other Federal agencies.

This assessment and others similar to it support the Federal government’s fish consumption recommendation contained in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (DGA), which encourages pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers to eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces (or 2-3 servings) of fish that are lower in mercury each week. The assessment results also support the draft updated advice FDA and EPA released today. The last time the advice was updated was in 2004.

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