Reprinted from NEJM Journal Watch, Jan. 19, 2017
By Kelly Young
Edited by Susan Sadoughi, MD
The FDA and Environmental Protection Agency have broken down which fish are safest to eat — based on mercury levels — for young children and women of childbearing age, particularly those who are breast-feeding or pregnant.
Consistent with other dietary guidelines, the agencies recommend that women of childbearing age eat two to three servings of fish lower in mercury every week. Children should eat one to two servings weekly. For adults, a serving is 4 ounces of uncooked fish; for children aged 4–7 years, it’s 2 ounces.
Adults should eat two to three servings weekly of “best choice” fish (e.g., canned light tuna, cod, crab, haddock, lobster, shrimp, salmon, tilapia) or one serving weekly of “good choice” fish (e.g., yellowfin and albacore tuna, grouper, halibut, mahi mahi). The “best choice” category includes 90% of the fish eaten in the U.S., according to the FDA.
“Fish to avoid” because of their high mercury content include king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish, Gulf of Mexico tilefish, and bigeye tuna.
The chart linked to the image above categorizes 62 types of fish based on their average mercury levels.