FDA To Reconsider Stance On Pregnant Women’s Tuna Consumption

There is a change in the works regarding the United States’ advisory for fish consumption among pregnant women. The seafood industry’s professionals are hoping that the new readjustment will help to quell consumer’s fears over the original warning that was released in 200, which raised concerns over the possible excessive mercury levels pregnant women and their growing babies were exposed to when they ate certain species of fish.

pregnant belly

That original 2004 warning had suggested that certain groups; women who were planning to become pregnant, pregnant women, young children and nursing mothers should not exceed six ounces of albacore tuna fish a week, and should refrain from consuming any swordfish, tilefish, shark or king mackerel. These larger fish live for 15-30 years and have lived in bodies of water where mercury has accumulated for longer than smaller fish. Mercury is a naturally occurring chemical, but it is also released into the environment through industrial pollution, where it is then absorbed by fish in waterways and oceans. The agency has stated in the past that the consumption of excessive amounts of fish with high mercury levels may harm an unborn baby, or a young child’s developmental system.

While the FDA has announced that it will be revising it’s advice for fish consumption during pregnancy, they have not announced exactly what is going to be revised, nor when these revisions will be made available to the public. Earlier this month, seafood industry experts that attended the Seafood Expo North America trade show in Boston, Massachusetts said they expected the FDA to change their advisory in such a way that will be helpful to getting people to eat more seafood. John Connelly, president of the trade organization National Fisheries Institute weighs in on the subject “Whether it be pregnant women, nursing moms or guys [in their 50’s], you’re better off eating seafood, your risk is not eating enough seafood. I think the government is understanding that now.”

In 2004, tuna consumption per capita in the United States was 3.3 pounds. That dropped to 2.4 pounds in 2012. Many seafood executives are blaming that decline partly on the amount of negative media coverage of the mercury warning, and the campaigns by environmental groups and other various activist organizations. Chief executive officer of Bumble Bee Foods LLC, Christopher Lischewski is optimistic about the changes the FDA is making to its original 2004 warning, saying “Based on the accurate science they’ve looked at since [2004], FDA recognizes they made an error in 2004 in putting out a mercury advisory that had no specific merit.

In the past eight years, the United States per capita seafood consumption has remained down or flat. Mr. Connelly believes that consumer’s fears of mercury may have been partly responsible for driving people away from eating seafood, saying,  “The most important thing is…if they change their advisory then the medical societies will change the advice they give to individual doctors or nurses or other providers.”

However, Carl Safina, president and founder of the environmental group Blue Water Institute is skeptical about the whole thing, commenting “It’s “wishful thinking” on the part of the seafood industry to think the updated advisory will tell those in the at-risk groups to eat more tuna. The FDA is considering changes to its advice, no one apparently knows that they are considering…so it’s fantasy for fishermen to think the advice on tuna will be relaxed.”

Until the recommendation is made official, moms-to-be who are concerned about their Omega 3 consumption can take Krill Oil. For the long list of benefits please ready this article.



About the author


Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days chasing around the never-ending ball of energy that is her son. By night you can find her at her computer, drafting up her next great blog post about parenting with chronic illnesses. She is also an avid photographer and jewelry artisan.

She is the founder of the Fibromyalgia support website,, where Fibromyalgia patients can go to gain support, learn how to advocate for themselves, and spread awareness of this still relatively unheard of condition.

Leave a Comment