Seafood: Don’t Listen to the FDA!

by in Diet Tips, Kitchen Sink, Pediatrics, Pregnancy December 18, 2008

shutterstock_3176257.jpgIs the FDA going to start recommending that pregnant women drink a beer and smoke a cigarette every night too? Recommending mercury laced seafood to pregnant women in my opinion is just as seemingly ridiculous and irresponsible.

Trust me, I am all about moderation, but when I read articles like this one, “FDA Urges Pregnant Women to Consume More Mercury Laced Seafood,” I feel like just packing up and quitting!

How can the FDA feel good about potentially favoring the failing seafood industry at the risk of exposing unborn fetuses to toxic mercury that is known to cause birth defects and neurological damage? No amount of known mercury consumption during pregnancy should be labeled as “safe” or “healthy.” There is no guarantee that a woman’s cytochrome p450 detoxification pathways will be working while pregnant, and worse yet a common problem in pregnancy is constipation which just perpetuates heavy metal poisoning as the main elimination pathway slows down.

Honestly this crazy rough draft recommendation from the FDA doesn’t surprise me though. I could ramble on for hours about many other instances as to why we should no longer listen to the American FDA, and this is merely one of them. The FDA simply has big business in America at heart, and with the seafood industry nearing extinction in the next few decades as our oceans become increasingly polluted this dietary recommendation is simply a warning sign that the FDA is scrambling to protect the inevitable demise of the seafood industry.

The FDA makes blanket recommendations that promote businesses while potentially jeopardizing the health of individuals. The rough draft report awaiting approval by the white house argues, “that nutrients in fish, including omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and other minerals could boost a child’s IQ by three points.”

Yes! Children will need those extra three IQ points if they were exposed to mercury as a fetus, a heavy metal known to cause neurological disorders.

Keep in mind when you hear health recommendations from the FDA that they are made basically to cover government regulated food programs such as provided for prisoners. Imagine the cost to our government if the FDA actually insisted on high quality organic food for all prisoners?

Such a costly recommendation would certainly burden these government food programs, but it may solve the health care dilemna. We are the second most unhealthy country only to Finland, yet we spend the most on health care, and the least on high quality food. We should try modeling after our European and Asian counterparts that place a cultural priority on quality food consumption. Americans will eat any old cheap refined food garbage they can purchase several month’s supply of at a cost saving warehouse. Europeans shop several times a week from a local produce stand.

Cutting corners with our food is is not the answer. Trust me, my heart goes out to the seafood industry, but we have to make ethical decisions when it comes to health. The pollution of our oceans is an unavoidable reality.

Larger carnivorous fish are naturally more polluted than smaller ones. Older fish are also more polluted than younger fish. The best fish to consume are Alaskan Wild Salmon and similar deep water fish. Do NOT eat farm raised fish unless they are crustaceans grown in controlled tanks. Farm raised salmon is toxic with PCB’s to say the least. PCB’s are known carcinogens that cause cancer, and farmed fish is thus banned in Europe for that reason. Why isn’t it banned in America? Money of course.

It is simply irresponsible on the FDA’s behalf to consider recommending that pregnant women and children eat more fish that we KNOW are toxic with mercury. This just doesn’t make sense, and I hope that pregnant women are not going to fall victim to this ridiculous advice that clearly has the interest of big business in America at heart and not the health of developing human beings.


  1. LOL! I know this is a serious post, but your opener had me laughing out loud. I’ve often had thoughts like that when reading much of what the FDA recommends!! Seriously, they need to get a clue.

    Kat’s last blog post..Seafood: Don’t Listen to the FDA!

  2. Yep – good point – and not just for pregnant women; wild Alaskan salmon is my choice of fish at least once a week.

    In the UK the dental association is still saying that mercury in fillings doesn’t pass into the body. Hmmmmh!

    Mercury is one to be avoided for sure.

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