Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fish: to eat or not to eat?

Seafood is yummy, but questions can make buyers hesitate. Do I have to worry about mercury? Which fish are best, and how much can I eat?

What's a busy shopper to do, with 30 seconds or so to decide at the counter or with the menu?

Thank goodness for a new government report that tells us don't worry, eat fish. According to the study, health benefits from seafood outweigh the risks. The major worry is that kids and pregnant women should not eat certain highly contaminated fish.

But wait, some environmental groups have criticized the study as biased. And the report notes that too few studies have been done on contamination levels found in seafood.

Credible people say some seafood can be risky, especially for vulnerable groups. Real people have been found to have health problems from overeating contaminated seafood right here in the good ol' US of A. Consumer fears exist, and they won't go away until the seafood industry tries to help consumers make informed decisions, through credible testing and labeling. Denial will not make the problem go away.

Thankfully, astute seafood sellers are seeing the light and looking for credible answers. At an open house I attended yesterday near Seattle, Plitt Seafood hosted a forum on contamination in seafood, with a presentation by a toxicologist. Now that's a step in the right direction.

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