Updated FDA advice for women on eating fish

July 17, 2019

The FDA suggests that American women are not eating enough fish, though consumers still need to be mindful of which fish to avoid.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued new information for women on eating fish. The document updates advice issued jointly by FDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2017.

The advice categorizing fish based on their mercury levels has not changed but the update further promotes science-based recommendations in Dietary Guidelines for Americans on the importance of fish in healthy eating patterns. FDA/EPA advice has been expanded and fish and shellfish now are referred to collectively as “fish” in text and a chart that highlight:

  • The nutritional value of fish;

  • The potential health benefits of eating fish; and

  • Recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

According to the Guidelines, people in the United States aged 2 years and older and adults should eat at least 8 oz of seafood (less for young children) each week based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should eat between 8 and 12 oz of lower-mercury fish per week. FDA notes that fish consumption in the United States is far less than these amounts.

FDA’s “Advice about Eating Fish” includes a chart of best and good fish choices, and choices to avoid. Among the “best” choices are canned light tuna, flounder, and shrimp, whereas fish that should be avoided include orange roughy and bigeye tuna.