Pregnant women should not eat tuna because it contains too much mercury, Consumer Reports says in a new report. In fact, the report goes on to suggest that expecting mothers should limit their consumption of all fish because most species contain at least a small amount of the toxic metal.
Research shows that mercury levels are rising: in fact, in the northern section of the Pacific Ocean they’ve increased by 30 per cent in just the past two decades. That means a 6-ounce serving of salmon can contain 4 micrograms of mercury, while the same amount of tuna comes laced with 60 micrograms of mercury.
Most experts feel that’s too much mercury for a pregnant woman. “We’re particularly concerned about canned tuna, which is second only to shrimp as the most commonly eaten seafood in the US,” noted Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumer Unions.
Aside from tuna, Consumer Reports recommends pregnant women avoid swordfish (which contains 170 micrograms of mercury), shark, king mackerel, Gulf tilefish, marlin, orange roughy, grouper, halibut, bluefish, sea bass, black cod, and Spanish mackerel. Consumer Reports adds that some types of tuna, like big eye and yellowfin tuna, are especially high in mercury and should always be avoided.
Thankfully, there are options for expecting mothers who love their seafood. Low mercury items include shrimp, scallops, sardines, wild salmon, oysters, squid, and tilapia. Falling into a middle area is haddock, pollock, sole, crawfish, trout, catfish, flounder, crab, and mullet.