Examiner.com Bad For Us After All

A new article in Examiner.com, that claims “seafood might be bad for us after all,” exposes a fundamental lack of understanding of science coupled with a clearly lacking editorial process.

The article discusses a new study about environmental chemicals. To be clear, the study does not measure the health effects – good, bad, or otherwise – of eating seafood, or as the author specifically mentions, tuna.

Concern with pollutants is not specific to seafood. In fact, here is some perspective Examiner.com left out. Calculated using toxic equivalence (TEQ), the major dietary sources of PCBs and dioxins are beef, chicken, and pork (34% of total TEQ); dairy products (30%); vegetables (22%); fish and shellfish (9%); and eggs (5%). That’s right, people get more PCB’s from vegetables than fish. Would Examiner.com suggest salads “might be bad for us after all?”

In addition, the two and a half minute video that precedes the written article doesn’t say a word about fish or seafood a single time. And, the author of the study specifically says, “I eat fish and I consider fish to be a very healthy food.”

It’s clear the headline is a blatant violation of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics that says, “Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.” The study did not even look at the effect of eating seafood on human health… yet Examiner.com alleges in its headline, “The fish is fishy: Why are researchers saying fish is bad for us?”

This article does a huge disservice to readers by scaring them away from a food they need to eat more of. Because of the known benefits of seafood consumption, researchers warn “Avoidance of modest fish consumption due to confusion regarding risks and benefits could result in thousands of excess Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) deaths annually and suboptimal neurodevelopment in children.”