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Shopping for Dinner Shouldn’t Be a Game of Russian Roulette

Many of us here in the U.S. rely on the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that our food is safe to eat — and rightly so, that’s their job. Sadly, the FDA isn’t very good at its job, favoring industry over public safety.

That’s why the Center for Biological Diversity and allies have filed a lawsuit challenging the FDA’s failure to implement stricter standards to protect the public from mercury in seafood. The lawsuit seeks to require seafood sellers to post signs about the danger of mercury in fish, improved health advisories for people most at-risk from mercury exposure and more stringent mercury limits for FDA-approved seafood.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the number one source of mercury exposure for people in the United States is contaminated seafood. The EPA calculates that 15 percent of newborns (630,000) in the United States are at risk each year to  neurological defects from mercury contamination.

“By ignoring its own standards and allowing seafood that is high in mercury to be sold, the FDA is putting hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting Americans at risk of permanent nerve damage and cognitive disorders,” said David McGuire of “The FDA is putting Americans in harm’s way through its lack of advisories, enforcement and testing of our nation’s seafood supply.”

Mercury contamination of seafood is a widespread public-health problem, especially for women of childbearing age, pregnant and nursing women and children. Mercury ingestion can lead to memory loss, developmental and learning disorders, vision loss, heart disease and, rarely, death.

The Mercury Food Chain

“Swordfish and many types of tuna species contain hazardous levels of mercury, yet the U.S. government has failed to take action and continues to allow high-mercury seafood to be sold,” said Miyoko Sakashita, director of the oceans program at the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit requests that the FDA review and update mercury standards and policies to bring the allowable mercury levels in seafood in line with levels low enough to protect vulnerable populations, such as children. The petition seeks to cut the allowable mercury level in half, from 1 part per million (ppm) to 0.5 ppm, which would harmonize it with EPA recommendations. Conservation groups also asked the FDA to require seafood retailers to post mercury-in-fish advisories wherever seafood is sold.

Mercury enters our air and water primarily from the burning of coal, which is then ingested and stored in the cells of fish. Some species of fish are more prone to mercury contamination than others, but even small amounts are dangerous to humans, not to mention the havoc mercury wreaks on the environment and wildlife. Please help end this toxic cycle by signing the Center’s petition to cut pollution from power plants.

Related Stories:

Big Coal Gets Desperate: Begs Customers to Complain to The EPA

Your Child’s Brain on Mercury

It’s Not About The Fish

Read more: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photo of bluefin tuna courtesy of Flickr Commons/Aziz T. Saltik. Mercury food chain infographic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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2:36AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

thank you for sharing

6:27AM PST on Feb 28, 2013

But our government has already proved their not good at almost all they do : medicare, post office......

9:57AM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Stop eating fish people!!!!

5:19AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

What about radioactive iodine and cesium in our tuna?

5:46PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

the FDA is a double dipper!

8:25AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Fish are a fabulously tasty food and going vegan isn't going to change unsafe food practices such as Monsanto Monstrosity veggie 'crops' cross pollinating and contaminating real heritage/heirloom seeds, doing irreparable damage to plant based food sources. All food sources are in danger be it fish, veggies, fruit, meat. Fight back with eating organic foods.

Cutting funding for the FDA and in Canada the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (not to mention muzzling scientists against Harper policy-CFIA, Environment Canada, Department Of Fisheries And Oceans, scientists can't speak publicly without complicated bureaucratic clearance first).

Slashing funds to the CFIA and the FDA means that industry gets away with lies and cover ups.

Fewer efforts to label foods correctly, research and prevention of industry's desire to sell contaminated food sources.

4:41PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012


4:41PM PDT on Jul 30, 2012


8:08AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

The reality is that we now live in an oligarchy controlled by the elite one percent, and the oligarchy uses "political payola" (bribes) the manipulate Congress and federal agencies to help optimize their profits ... no matter what the harm is to humans and animal life, and no matter how much our environment is damaged. Mercury in seafood is just one of the health hazards created by this corruption. Avoiding fish does not protect you from all the poisons Monsanto and the other biotech companies are putting into your foods. A research group from Purdue Univ. recently discovered that glyphosate found in food/ feed products seem to be causing sterility in humans and livestock. Glyphosate is the primary chemical in Monsanto's herbicide Roundup used to help grow GM/ GMO crops. To make matters worse, Monsanto is spending millions of dollars in "political payola" to prevent food companies from being required to indicate (by label) that their food products contain GM/ GMO crops. Thus, vegans have a real problem unless they grow all their own foods.

6:26PM PDT on Jul 29, 2012

For the 3% that decided to vote NO, I would like to thank the fishing lobby outing yourselves, it makes you easier to spot.

People, Don't expect Washington to do anything...not until a Senators or Congressman's family member is harmed from ingesting such fish.

As a matter of fact, and we all know the facts...don't expect much from them for anything, but their support more WARS and the Killer Drone Program.

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