As a way of counteracting some of the work by Environmental Working Group, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and Oceana to inform consumers about the health risks of consuming too much seafood, a new website was just launched called HowMuchFish.com, which tells you how much mercury-laden tuna, salmon, and shrimp you can 'safely' consume.
Although it might not be obvious at first glance, HowMuchFish.com is sponsored by the Center for Consumer Freedom -- "a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility". Check out their website claiming to mythbust the studies demonstrating health effects of high fructose corn syrup, high meat intake, and now seafood. This is a group of people who profit from seafood sales. When it comes to seafood and its effect on your health, is this really a group you would trust?
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I received some information from this HowMuchFish group some time ago, and they seemed a little too eager to push the "a little mercury isn't that bad" message. After some light research, sure enough, there was the link to Center for Consumer Freedom.
It has become apparent to me that any organizations with the word Freedom in their title are likely abusing the term for their own interest.
I'm with them on high-fructose corn syrup. (Scientifically, at least; not necessarily on agricultural policy.)
Remember how through the 1990's, the nutritionists had the same hand-waving to explain why fructose was healthier than sucrose? Remember Frookies?
Mercury accumulates in the water naturally and through anthropogenic sources, mainly cement plants, chlorine factories (and the biggest culprit) coal-burning power plants. The mercury molecules are released into the air and fall into the water where bacteria and other micro-organisms change the mercury into methyl mercury, the form most dangerous to humans. Fish in-turn consume the micro-organisms and accumulate the methyl mercury in their tissue. Predatory fish bioaccumulate much more elevated mercury levels in comparison to non-predatory fish, so even land-locked fresh water fish such as bass can bioaccumulate dangerous levels of methyl mercury even though they never reach the ocean. Another thing to note is that ALL SEAFOOD CONTAINS SOME LEVEL OF MERCURY! Donât for one second believe that something is safe simply because the FDA or EPA (or especially the fishing industry!) tells you that species doesnât accumulate mercury. Its just not true. All seafood has mercury in it, it really depends on HOW MUCH that particular fish has accuumulatedâ¦
However, safe seafood is available though! For the first time there is a company that doesnât rely on only the age or location of the fish caught to claim that it is lower in mercury than FDA action levels. Safe Harbor GUARANTEES that the fish it certifies is lower than FDA action levels because it tests every large fin fish released under the Safe Harbor brand. For the first time I am 100% confident about the safety of the seafood I eat and buy for my family. All their mercury certification levels are available online, along with details about their testing process and where their product is available at http://www.safeharborfoods.com
Check their site out, learn more on the issue and enjoy seafood without worry! I know that I now eat seafood and serve it to my family with confidence.
So we should trust NGOs whose mission is NOT to protect human health but to reduce fishing? That seems equally as unreliable. I think the only reliable source for information on fish consumption is the FDA and EPA. These government people know about risk assessment more than anyone and are the best qualified to make guidelines for the public.