Seafood still considered a good source of nutrients but consumers confused on safety

July 17, 2013, Institute of Food Technologists

Seafood continues to be a proven strong nutrient-rich food providing essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, but consumers and some toxicologists still keep a watchful eye on safety, according to a July 16 panel discussion at the 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo held at McCormick Place.

"Moderate, consistent evidence shows that health benefits derived from the consumption of a variety of cooked seafood in the U.S. in amounts recommended by the [2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, U.S. Department of Agriculture] Committee outweigh the risks," said Roger Clemens, Ph.D., CSO at Horn Company, Chatsworth, Calif., and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy. He recognized two, 3- to 5-ounce servings each week of such fish as salmon, oysters and rainbow trout, provide an average of 250 mg/day of n-3 fatty acids associated with the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. "Consumers can safely eat at least 12 ounces of a variety of cooked seafood per week provided they pay attention to local seafood advisories and limit their intake of large, predatory fish like shark."

Toxicologists like Wallace Hayes, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, said there is ongoing research to improve food safety especially for those predatory, saltwater fish like shark, tile, swordfish, and king mackerel that may carry a contamination many consumers are wary of.

"The bigger the fish, the more they've been around and the greater the potential for their level of mercury," said Hayes, recognizing studies that show varying amounts of methylmercury toxicity can impact the developing brain during the third trimester of pregnancy or through breast milk. Repeated low level exposure can also affect cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and cognitive aging systems.

Doris Hicks, seafood technology specialist with the Sea Grant Program, University of Delaware, Lewes, Del., worries consumers confused with the risks will prevent them from eating seafood weekly.

"Seafood is unique because there are measurable benefits and risks," said Hicks, explaining consumers must not only be aware of the source and quality of their seafood, but the handling practices, preparation and storage of seafood they may consume at home or in restaurants. "Most of the public recognizes the health advantages of seafood but over half have also heard something negative."

She has discovered many doctors and nurses are telling their patients to reduce their consumption. In response, she worked with other food scientists to conduct online surveys and focus groups with healthcare professionals which ultimately led to the creation of an online educational resource for both health professionals and .

Explore further: Variety and convenience can help women boost their intake of fish

More information: www.seafoodhealthfacts.org

Related Stories

Variety and convenience can help women boost their intake of fish

May 6, 2013
Women are often told to eat more red meat, yet Flinders University PhD candidate Lily Chan (pictured) says it is just as important for women to increase their weekly fish intake.

Seafood: can there be too much of a good thing?

October 5, 2011
Stony Brook University has launched a pilot epidemiologic study targeting avid fish consumers that will examine the benefits and risks of seafood consumption. The “Long Island Study of Seafood Consumption,” led ...

Despite health benefits, most children and adults have a 'nutrition gap' in omega-3 fatty acids

July 16, 2013
Because of a diet low in fish and seafood, children and adults in North America and other parts of the world, have a "nutrition gap" of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid ...

Recommended for you

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.