Is it safe to eat seafood? It’s a common question with all the pollution in the world. After the Gulf oil spill people began to wonder if Gulf shrimp would be safe to eat. For years, people have wondered about whether there is too much mercury in fish such as tuna.
When it comes to whether it’s safe to eat seafood, there are a lot of fears. Seafood has traditionally been such an important source of omega-3s and protein. It would be extremely upsetting if much of the seafood from the Gulf or other sources became contaminated.
Here are some answers to common questions about whether seafood is safe to consume:
No. 1: How much seafood we eat in America was affected from the Gulf spill? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only two percent of the seafood we eat comes from the Gulf.
No. 2: How is seafood checked for safety? How do you know it’s safe to eat seafood? Samples of fish are taken to labs to be tested for chemicals from oil. Areas that were affected by the oil spill were closed for fishing.
No. 3: What are people worried about when it comes to fish being contaminated? People are concerned about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs which are linked to cancer and found in oil. They can build up to high levels in fish. Shellfish such as shrimp, crabs and oysters have a hard time getting rid of the PAHs.
No. 4: Should you ask restaurants if the seafood came from the Gulf? Is it safe to eat shrimp from the Gulf? According to the National Fisheries Institute 7 percent of shrimp eaten in America comes from the Gulf, and 70 percent of the oysters come from the Gulf. It’s fine to ask. It’s better to have peace of mind than to worry about whether you are consuming something tainted.
No. 5: Is tuna safe to eat? When buying tuna, look for the light tuna as opposed to the white albacore tuna which typically contains higher levels of mercury. If you are pregnant, it’s best to only consume light tuna (not albacore) on rare occasion. Opt instead for salmon and other sources of protein.
So, is it safe to eat seafood? Yes. Some experts recommend eating a variety of fish to minimize the risk of being exposed to mercury or PAHs. Seafood can be an important part of a healthy diet. The healthy fats found in fish can help relieve depression and keep the body healthy.
Don’t give up eating healthy seafood, but do ask questions at seafood restaurants and at the fish market. Be an informed consumer.
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Source: Shape magazine