The FDA has suggested that pregnant women should limit their fish consumption. However, medical author and pregnancy expert Colette Bouchez emphasizes the importance of fish preparation to avoid many of the dangers associated with fish consumption. Raw fish should be avoided.
Preparation Affects Fish Safety During Pregnancy
New FDA guidelines omit important safety concerns for pregnant women
March, 2004 - Earlier this month the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency joined forces to issue new guidelines suggesting that women limit white albacore tuna consumption, along with Shark, Swordfish, King mackerel and Tilefish, to just 6 ounces per week during pregnancy. But medical author and pregnancy expert Colette Bouchez says pregnant women also need to be aware that how you prepare your fish can make a big difference in the safety profile of your dinner plate.
"The new FDA guidelines are a step in the right direction, but where they fall short is in not emphasizing the importance of fish preparation, and how this can influence many of the dangers linked to fish consumption," says Bouchez, author of the new book, Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy, (Doubleday/Broadway Books, Feb. 2004).
The FDA's concerns over fish center around the dangers of mercury poisoning — a fear that was echoed simultaneously by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) when they cautioned pregnant women against the consumption of Shark and all tuna.
But according to Bouchez, equally as dangerous is a bacteria known as "listeria monocytogenes" — a germ that can silently lurk in any raw fish and is the cause of a potentially deadly form of "food poisoning" know as "Listeriosis". When contracted during pregnancy, says Bouchez, the listeria bacteria can dramatically increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature delivery.