Consumer Reports has a simple figure for the amount of tuna a woman should eat when pregnant: zero.
It’s a recommendation that’s drawing fire from the FDA and the EPA, both of which stated last June that pregnant women, women intending to become pregnant, and women who are breast feeding should eat up to 12 ounces of fish per week — including tuna.
The reason for their advice: fish is a source of a lot of good things, such as protein and omega 3 fatty acids. Consumer Reports says fish, particularly tuna, is a good source of mercury — which is a bad thing.
Consumer Reports says the FDA’s testing of mercury levels in tuna can be way off — double what they say it is 20 percent of the time. As for the other 80 percent tuna, you don’t know what you’re getting. The testing amounts can be off either up or down.
In any case, since mercury can cause brain and nerve damage, among other things, Consumer Reports says it’s best for some women to avoid tuna completely.
As for others, CR says the “safe amount” has to do with your weight. A 150 pound person shouldn’t exceed one can of albacore tuna per week. A 100 pounder shouldn’t eat more than half a can. (One can average 5oz.)
But don’t forget, there’s also tuna steaks and sushi that need to be considered.
CR says safe fish includes wild salmon, scallops, shrimp, tilapia, catfish, crab, flounder, and sole.
The FDA says only swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish are on the no-go list for women of child-bearing age and young children.
I’ll have more on this a little later. In the meantime, caution remains the best advice until this gets sorted out more clearly.