Consumer Reports: Pregnant Women Should Avoid All Tuna — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 22, 2014

Consumer Reports: Pregnant Women Should Avoid All Tuna

By Kelly Young

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH

Pregnant women should avoid eating tuna altogether because of the risk for mercury exposure, says Consumer Reports. The recommendation is at odds with the FDA and EPA, which recently proposed that pregnant women eat 8-12 oz. of low-mercury seafood, including canned light tuna, weekly.

The agencies recommended limiting consumption of albacore tuna to 6 oz. per week. But Consumer Reports' analysis of FDA data found that a 125-pound woman could exceed the EPA's recommended mercury consumption limit by eating just 4 oz. weekly. Canned light tuna does, on average, contain less mercury than albacore, but FDA data indicate that 20% of canned light tuna samples contained double the average level of mercury.

In addition, Consumer Reports recommends that young children, women of childbearing age, and people who eat 24 oz. of fish per week or more should not eat yellowfin and big eye tuna in sushi since these are high-mercury fish.

Reader Comments (2)

Mary McCarthy, MD Physician, Psychiatry, Portand, OR (private practice)

Pacific Albacore Tuna caught off the Oregon & Washington coast have been tested for mercury levels by Oregon State University Seafood Laboratory (M.T. Morrissey and L.A. Geise- See links) and found to be very low. To make a global recommendation to avoid tuna consumption by pregnant women without considering the locality of where the fish is caught seems overreaching. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are important to the developing fetus and to the mother. Tuna is also a good source of vitamin D, another important nutrient for the developing fetus.

ruben enriquez Physician, Rheumatology, private practice

do you know if there are regions in the world with higher risk?

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