How Safe is Fish
Advice about fish can be confusing.
You hear many experts recommend that we replace some of our weekly red-meat
meals with fish, but at the same time, you hear that some fish contain hazardous
substances such as mercury, dioxin and PCBs. You hear that tuna and salmon are
good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but is there a safety difference between
farmed salmon and wild salmon?
Is it possible to eat tuna
and salmon safely? Here are
some of the facts that can help you decide what's best for you and your family.
The contaminants in tuna and salmon.
Recommendations for tuna
In 2004, the Environmental Protection
Agency and the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement saying that
women of child-bearing age and young children should eat no more than six
ounces of albacore tuna per week. However, low-mercury fish, such as shrimp,
canned light tuna, salmon and catfish are considered safe.
Recommendations for salmon
While most recent research indicates
that farmed salmon is higher in PCBs and dioxin, wild salmon and canned salmon
are thought to be relatively free of the contaminants. Therefore, scientists
recommend that pregnant women and young children consume only wild or canned
Often, salmon at the grocery store
isn't labeled to indicate whether it's wild or farmed, but you can always
ask. Additionally, you can often buy wild smoked salmon, although it tends
to be fairly expensive. And don't forget that an easy way to use canned salmon
is to prepare it the same way you would tuna, and eat it on whole grain bread.
The Environmental Protection Agency, The Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times, "Advisories on Fish and the Pitfalls of Good Intent," 15 February 2006