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Home > News & Events > Resolutions > AR - 2011-3

Association of Food and Drug Officials


Resolution 3

Submitted by: Charlene Bruce, President-AFDOSS, and Rita Johnson, Co-Chair for AFDO Seafood Committee, as submitted by the Florida Medical Association (FMA) c/o Dr. Todd LaRieu Sacks, MD, FACP (Jacksonville, FL) 

Date: April 14, 2011

Concerning: The health benefits of fish consumption and dangers of mercury toxicity

Whereas, seafood consumption improves health. Seafood provides nutrients such as essential long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), vitamins, proteins, and minerals including iodine, iron and selenium, and

Whereas, peer-reviewed science has demonstrated for populations that the health benefits of eating seafood outweigh the risks, and

Whereas, for the expectant and nursing mother, seafood in the diet is the richest source of many nutrients that optimize the development of her baby’s brain and nervous system. For infants and young children, nutrients contained in seafood are important for their optimal development and social behavior, and

Whereas, for adults, nutrients in seafood may help prevent or reduce coronary heart disease, stroke, psychiatric disorders, iodine deficiency, adverse effects of heavy metal exposure and possibly some cancers, and

Whereas, seafood consumption rates by Americans are among the lowest of all developed nations. The omega-3 fatty acid content of American breast milk is among the lowest in the world, and

Whereas, 2004 EPA-FDA fish consumption guidelines for pregnant women, lactating women and young children, which limits fish consumption to 2 meals per week (12 oz), is not supported by the more recent scientific evidence and consensus; the guidelines considered the risk, but not the health benefits of eating seafood, and

Whereas, methylmercury irreversibly inhibits selenium-dependent enzymes that the brain needs to protect itself against oxidative damage. Methylmercury exposure in excess of dietary selenium intake is potentially dangerous for women of child-bearing age, young children, or developing human fetuses, causing developmental disabilities in children, such as delayed walking, delayed speech, and decreased performance on tests of attention, fine motor function, language, visual-spatial abilities, and memory, and

Page 1 of 2Whereas, AFDO believes that seafood is a healthy food that should be a significant part of the diet of people of all ages except for the special concerns which exist for women of pregnancy age, infants, and small children due to the risk of toxicity from some fish species that contain high levels of mercury and low levels of selenium, or high levels of dioxin, therefore be it

Resolved, that the AFDO request the federal government to revise their current seafood consumption guidelines and advisories to emphasize the human health benefits of fish consumption for all age groups while also informing consumers of the risks to women of pregnancy age, infants, and small children of eating fish that contain high levels of mercury and low levels of selenium, or high levels of dioxin, and it be further

Resolved, that AFDO work with the federal agencies to share this information with its membership and other government officials.

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