A Victory for Sanity and the American Public

Like clowns out of a VW Bug, a ridiculous parade of celebrities, quack TV doctors, and fringe environmental activists have been insisting for years that eating seafood is dangerous.Peoples brains and bodies are being damaged by mercury, so the story goes, although not a single case of mercury toxicity from the normal consumption of commercial seafood has ever been documented in any peer-reviewed U.S. medical journal.

But obstacles like facts and science havent stopped environmental groups, celebrities or TV docs including Kim Kardashian, Jeremy Piven, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Megan Fox from sounding their anxiety that American lives are in danger from the tuna fish sandwich.

As if to say enough is enough, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a thorough, definitive and public rebuke of these alarmists in March after Got Mercury?, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the FDA for more stringent regulations on commercial fish. In 40 instances, the FDA cited the petitions insufficient evidence or deemed the activists assertions inaccurate or inconclusive. In the FDAs words:

  • You present no evidence that mercury levels in ocean fish are rising or will rise as a consequence of increasing mercury in the ocean
  • Your petition failed to provide sufficient data or information, such as specifics relating to actual injuries within the general population or estimates of risk
  • The petition does not identify any case studies of possible individual injuries from prenatal exposure to methylmercury in the U.S., nor are we aware of any
  • In your petition, you devote considerable attention to canned tunaThe FAO/WHO assessment estimates that these products are beneficial — and thus pose no reasonable possibility of injury through at least 24.5 ounces per week.

In other words, agenda-driven activists have no basis for scaring the public about seafood.

Such sanity is needed now more than ever. As the FDAs letter underscores, Americans dont eat nearly enough fish.The North American diet now contains the second-lowest percentage of fish in the world 7 percent second only to the Sudan.

The harm caused by seafood deficiency and a lack of omega-3s are as serious as a heart attack.Literally. A recent Harvard study found that some 84,000 lives could be saved every year if Americans ate more fish.Other studies have also shown that eating seafood protects adults from developing Alzheimers disease and diabetes and encourages optimal cognitive and ocular development in babies.

Thats why it was so critical that the FDA soundly rejected the activists petition. The FDA stood up for science and stood tall against hyperbole.

Yes, reason won the day. And all Americans are better off because of it.