An Open Letter to Critics Jeopardizing the Health of Millions of Americans
Over the past decade, environmental activists desperate for publicity and donations have purposefully misinformed the public about seafood nutrition. These activists have propagated what turned out to be genuinely dangerous advice about restricting fish. Their warnings are largely groundless and conflict with recommendations issued by the world’s leading health and nutrition authorities. Yet gullible reporters, acting like stenographers, have dutifully parroted the activists’ warnings in one story after another without researching what the real science says. The result: Americans are eating far less seafood than health experts advise — resulting in tens of thousands of preventable deaths each year.
This letter serves to put environmental and eco-activists on notice: Stop scaring Americans to death. We are holding you accountable for the harm you are causing. Your fear mongering has plenty of negative consequences, including serious public health impacts. Here are just a few of the staggering facts:
· Low seafood consumption is the second biggest dietary contributor to preventable deaths in the United States according to a Harvard study, taking 84,000 lives each year — a toll greater than diabetes.
- The American diet contains the second-lowest percentage of fish in the world — 15 pounds, less than one seafood meal a week.
- Pregnant and nursing women in particular need the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish. According to research from the Nutritional Neuroscience division at the National Institutes of Health, children whose mothers eat no fish during pregnancy are 29 percent more likely to have abnormally low IQs.
So why would anyone discourage Americans from eating seafood when they already eat far less than half the recommended amount?
- Environmental activist organizations have found the easiest way to get attention from the media and policymakers for their air and water quality demands is to conflate and distort coal-fired power plants pollution with trace amounts of naturally occurring methylmercury found in all commercial seafood. This scare tactic not only distorts the healthfulness of seafood but raises questions about the activists reliablity as a source for any information especially nutrition.
- Lifestyle activists who crave recognition from their peer groups profess to protect the masses from mercury poisoning. But no peer-reviewed medical journal has ever reported a case of mercury toxicity (let alone “poisoning”) in the U.S. attributed to the normal consumption of commercial seafood. (Link here and here to see that all of the 10 most popular fish consumed in America — including albacore canned tuna — are “low mercury” fish.)
- Ocean conservationists believe they can protect species like turtles and sharks by convincing consumers to stop eating and buying canned tuna out of “health concerns”. They think that eliminating demand would diminish the need to fish at all — thus “saving” sea creatures.
All of these activists have an agenda, but none of them are really about public health.
We can no longer stand by while environmental activists purposefully disregard scientific fact — no matter the agenda — or allow reporters to unquestionably repeat activists’ false rhetoric. We cannot and will not allow this threat to the public health to go unchallenged.
We will expose activists for any careless or willful distortion about seafood, including any recommendation that Americans eat less fish. And we will hold reporters accountable any time they parrot misinformation from activists, or fail to uphold the basic journalism standards of accuracy, objectivity and balance.
Americans deserve to know the truth about seafood. It could save their lives.