Two fringe environmentalist groups, the Mercury Policy Project and the Environmental Working Group, are up in arms over the federal government’s recently-published dietary guidelines. Their reason? The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has determined that tuna is safe to eat during pregnancy.
We saw this coming long ago. While some of our opponents have attacked us for defending consumption of canned tuna (one of the best and least expensive sources of essential nutrients such as protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids), they have shown themselves to be on the opposite side of the science.
Of course, the federal government’s announcement came as no surprise to those who have been paying close attention to all of the research that has been published regarding tuna consumption. As early as 2007, solid evidence including a study in The Lancet confirmed that maternal seafood consumption is safe, declaring, “[…]advice to limit seafood consumption could actually be detrimental. These results show that risks from the loss of nutrients were greater than the risks of harm from exposure to trace contaminants.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had previously come to a similar conclusion to the DGAC, issuing draft advice last year that pregnant women should: “Eat 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of fish* each week from choices that are lower in mercury” including light canned tuna.
Despite solid evidence that trivial risks from trace contaminants are far outweighed by the nutritional benefits of seafood consumption, fringe environmental groups still choose to cling to their irrational and unscientific fears of fish. When the research is objectively analyzed, the results are clear–the real danger posed by canned tuna is not eating it.