So how should you, the consumer proceed after reading about the toxic methylmercury looming in your favorite seafood dishes? For the record, I love seafood and I eat fish on a regular basis. Fish is a great source of protein, heart healthy and low in fat. The key is to make smart decisions about the type and amount of fish you consume. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest following 3 main safety tips:
- Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (fish eat fish, that eat fish…the highest methylmercury concentrations are found in large species at the top of the food chain).
- Limit yourself to 1-2 meals of low mercury seafood per week. Some low mercury seafood options are shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Canned light tuna is also low in mercury, while albacore or white tuna typically have higher levels.
- Check local fish consumption advisories through your state Environmental Protection Agency.
Sustainability is also an important consideration to make when purchasing seafood. Below is a snap shot of a pocket guide, also available as a smart phone app, produced by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The guide is available for different regions in the United States (the guide below is for the Midwest) and lists the best choices, good alternatives, and species to avoid based on the sustainability of fishing practices. Guides can be downloaded from the link below: