The Food and Drug Association (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. has released guidelines for the consumption of fish (including shellfish) – how much, what type of fish, etc. They’ve made the information crystal clear this time as they’re aiming to encourage more people to eat fish.
More specifically, they’re hoping to get through to pregnant women, those planning to get pregnant, breastfeeding mothers, and young children. Recent scares have caused many moms to shy away from fish in fear of the mercury they contain.
Are you eating enough fish? Here’s what the FDA recommends. Adults: 8-12 ounces a week (or 2 to 3 servings of fish a week) Children: 2 to 3 servings a week with portions right for the child’s age and calorie needs
Nearly all fish contain traces of mercury, said the FDA. Methylmercury, the type of mercury present in fish, is naturally occurring and can also be released into the environment through various human activity. These are absorbed by the fish and build up in their system over time. Mercury is a neurotoxin. When humans are exposed to too much of it, it can cause serious damage to their brain and nervous system.
So to put parents’ minds at ease, the FDA gave a list of the types of fish that are low in mercury and are perfectly safe to eat. Unfortunately, the list only contains fish commonly sold in the U.S.A. The list does not provide information for common Philippine fish like bangus (milkfish), lapu-lapu (grouper), or maya-maya (snapper). It does, however, have hito (catfish).
Here’s a list of seafood with very low amounts of mercury and at the same time very good for the body as they contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids:
Seafood low in mercury but don’t contain as much omega-3:
Here’s what not to eat. These are the fish containing the most mercury. These are typically very large fish that live the longest and get contaminated the most:
Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
The FDA recommends that pregnant women and young children eat only foods with fish, meat, poultry, or eggs that have been cooked to safe temperatures to protect against microbes. “Pregnant women and young children often lack strong immune systems and are more at risk for foodborne illnesses,” they said.
Hence, we recommend these delicious kid-friendly fish recipes if you’re planning on incorporating more fish into your family’s diet.
Crusty Fish Fingers with Cilantro-Lemon Mayonnaise
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Prep Time 1 hour Cooking Time 7 minutes Recipe found here by Yummy.ph
Fish Po' boy
Prep Time 15 to 20 minutes Cooking Time 10 minutes Recipe found here by Yummy.ph
Baby Potato Bites with Smoked Fish
Prep Time 20 to 30 minutes Baking Time 45 minutes to 1 hour Recipe found here by Yummy.ph
Source: June 2014, "Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know". fda.gov