On October 28, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued their updated joint advice about eating fish. This advice can help those who might become or are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as parents and caregivers who are feeding children make informed choices when it comes to the types of fish and shellfish (collectively referred to as fish) that are nutritious and safe to eat. This advice supports the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
You can share a downloadable chart, available in English and Spanish, that shows which fish are grouped into “Best Choices,” “Good Choices,” and “Choices to Avoid” based on mercury levels. FDA and EPA took a cautious and highly protective approach in determining which types of fish belonged in these categories.
Key Highlights from the Updated Advice:
- An adult who is or might become pregnant or is breastfeeding should eat 2 to 3 servings a week of fish in the “Best Choices” category, based on a serving size of four ounces, in the context of a total healthy diet.
- For some children, the amounts of fish in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are higher than in this FDA/EPA advice. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that to consume those higher fish amounts, children should only be fed fish from the “Best Choices” list that are even lower in mercury – these fish are anchovies, Atlantic mackerel, catfish, clams, crab, crawfish, flounder, haddock, mullet, oysters, plaice, pollock, salmon, sardines, scallops, shad, shrimp, sole, squid, tilapia, trout, and whiting.
- Includes new information and resources:
- Information about the nutritional value of fish for those who might become or are pregnant or breastfeeding and children ages 1-11 years.
- A social media toolkit including graphics, infographics, messages, web badges, and an announcement for a newsletter, listserv or media release.
- A set of frequently asked questions & answers that provides more information on how to use the chart and additional tips for eating fish.