FDA issues new list of fish pregnant women should avoid

FILE - This Sept. 10, 2010 file photo shows the seafood counter in Whole Foods is shown in Hillsboro, Ore. The government is reminding pregnant women to stay away from certain fish that can be high in mercury. But the agency won't require package labeling on mercury content, which is what consumer groups had sought. The draft advice issued Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency is unlikely to clear up confusion over exactly what seafood pregnant women and young children should eat and what they should avoid. Consumer groups have sued the agency, saying its warnings haven't been clear enough about what fish could pose a risk. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - This Sept. 10, 2010 file photo shows the seafood counter in Whole Foods is shown in Hillsboro, Ore. The government is reminding pregnant women to stay away from certain fish that can be high in mercury. But the agency won't require package labeling on mercury content, which is what consumer groups had sought. The draft advice issued Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency is unlikely to clear up confusion over exactly what seafood pregnant women and young children should eat and what they should avoid. Consumer groups have sued the agency, saying its warnings haven't been clear enough about what fish could pose a risk. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Food and Drug Administration is reminding pregnant women to stay away from certain fish that can be high in mercury, but the agency won’t require package labeling on mercury content, which is what consumer groups had sought.

The move is unlikely to clear up confusion over exactly what seafood pregnant women should eat or stay away from.

Consumer groups had long sought the labeling, saying that government guidelines are hard for pregnant women to remember.

The FDA says the update to its 2004 advice is an attempt to get pregnant women to eat more fish, since many types of low-mercury seafood are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids important for brain development, but fish also can absorb mercury, a neurotoxin, from streams and oceans and a small number of varieties harbor higher levels.

The FDA made a list of shat fish to eat and what to avoid if you’re pregnant:

Eat: salmon, shrimp, pollock, tilapia, catfish, cod, flatfish, haddock and canned light tuna.

Avoid: shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. Limit white albacore tuna to six ounces a week.

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