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Washington, DC August 20, 2014 – Consumer Reports is set to publish a recommendation that pregnant women avoid all canned tuna, advice that flies in the face of more than a decade of independent, peer-reviewed, published science that resulted in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updating its advice to pregnant women to eat more fish, including canned tuna, to realize the health benefits for baby and mother.
NFI warned on June 25 that Consumer Reports was gearing up for another tuna story and it’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the group has produced yet another tuna tale with a disproportionate focus on mercury and out-of-step nutrition recommendations.
With hyperbolic scare-stories rife with misinformation, Consumer Reports continues to marginalize itself and ends up at odds with the larger group of legitimate nutrition and public health experts. More evidence CR should stick with advice that doesn’t have the potential to harm unborn babies: reviews of stereo equipment, their core competency.
Though we urged CR to do a thorough, balanced and science-based job, that obviously did not happen. Minimal research would have presented reporters literally hundreds of independent seafood studies from the FDA to the World Health Organization that clearly demonstrate the net benefit gained from eating seafood, like tuna.
While it’s convenient and doesn’t take much thought or understanding, publishing a “report” that ultimately harms the health of pregnant women and children is irresponsible.
If you are interested in this report, please keep these notes in mind and feel free use the National Fisheries Institute as a resource.
The Food and Drug Administration, the main governing body in charge of reviewing and approving nutritional advice, has given the following comment to The Oregonian blasting the report:
"The Consumer Reports analysis is limited in that it focuses exclusively on the mercury levels in fish without considering the known positive nutritional benefits attributed to fish," the FDA said in a statement. "As a result, the methodology employed by Consumer Reports overestimates the negative effects and overlooks the strong body of scientific evidence published in the last decade. The statement points to an FDA survey in 2012 that found that one in five pregnant women avoided fish for long periods and that 75 percent of women ate fewer than 4 ounces a week. "Studies with pregnant women in particular have consistently found that fish is important for growth and development before birth," the statement said.
The FDA has recently issue draft advice urging Americans to consume more seafood.